The Nordic Network in Human Rights Research continues
Is human rights research methodologically sloppy? If so, what can we do about it? These are some of the questions behind the new incarnation of the NordForsk-financed Nordic Network in Human Rights Research, where methodological challenges is the main research topic.
Three years of methodological challenges
The Norwegian Centre for Human Rights held a kick-off seminar for the new network on January 20th. The seminar gathered together representatives from a majority of the partner institutions as well as local students and researchers. Professor Bård A. Andreassen, scientific head of the network, pointed out in his opening statement that human rights research, as a highly multidisciplinary field, has been accused of methodological sloppiness. Moreover, he said, people have even claimed that since human rights are seen as morally good, everything we do in support of human rights must also be good.
Whatever the case may be, human rights researchers have good reasons to work towards increased methodological awareness. Thus the new network aims to be a forum for discussion and produce academic texts on methodological topics.
The network, which has now gone beyond the original Nordic format by including partners in Florence and Harvard, will organise research panels, workshops and research training courses, and grant mobility scholarships to younger researchers.
The NCHR to head the Nordic Network
The kick-off seminar also marked a transition of leadership. The NCHR will run the network for the period of 2012-2014, taking over the administrative leadership from the Institute of Human Rights in Turku. In her closure speech, Director Elina Pirjatanniemi from Turku highlighted a total of eighteen finished PhD degrees and fifteen research courses associated with the network in the previous five-year period, thus setting high standards for the new network to live up to in the coming years.