VWR Dissertation Award

VWR-dissertation award

The Association for Philosophy of Law has the VWR dissertation prize every two years to the best dissertation in the field of legal theory in the Netherlands and Belgium. The prize was awarded for the first time in 2011. The following award ceremony will take place during the spring meeting in 2021.


Winner 2019: Tamar de Waal

The winner of the VWR-disseration award 2019 is Tamar de Waal. She received the award for her thesis “Conditional Belonging”.

In her dissertation, Tamar de Waal describes how integration requirements for TCNs as conditions for attaining increased rights (i.e. family migration, permanent residency and citizenship) in EU countries are increasingly legally misunderstood, misused and predisposed to have counterproductive societal outcomes, often contradicting their formal policy objectives. In addition, the dissertation contends that integration requirements in EU countries reinforce problematic status hierarchies between citizens. In particular, they nurture the social perception that the entitlement of citizens with (non-EU, non-Western) immigrant backgrounds to their legal citizenship is conditional and contingent on certain desirable competences, attitudes and efforts, while citizens without immigrant backgrounds are perceived as having a natural right to the legal status of unconditional citizenship.

Winner 2017: Eric Boot

The winner of the VWR-dissertation award 2017 is Eric Boot. He received the award for his thesis “Human Duties and the Limits of Human Rights Discourse”.

His dissertation links to existing literature on the subject matter and offers a clear status questionis of the subject matter. The added value of this dissertation’s analysis rests on three pillars, according to the jury: first, the jury appreciates the clear focus of the research. This is an excellent example of the author showing his understanding of the subject matter by means of a clear and responsible restriction of scope. Second, the terms used in the dissertation are clearly defined and the author employs them with great steadfastness throughout his research. Third, the dissertation is marked — partly due to the aforementioned strengths — by great argumentative consistency.

Winner 2015: Niels van Dijk

The winner of the VWR-dissertation award 2015 is Niels van Dijk. He received the award for his thesis “Grounds of the immaterial: A transversal approach of legal philosophy in intellectual rights”.

In his dissertation van Dijk explores an ethnographic conflict-based approach to the notions of “idea”, “concept”, “invention” and “immateriality” in the legal regime of intellectual rights. This is achieved by turning to the sites of legal practice where these notions are used as legal concepts. The approach follows the legal proceedings of matters of dispute in patent, copyright and trademark law as they circulate throughout law firms and courts. Throughout these trajectories it maps all the typical legal techniques and operations like qualification; authorization and proof; the medial and material dimension of law; the relations between law & technology; and the practical philosophies of origination and identity & difference. The resulting cartography sheds light on how matters of dispute become gradually transformed into matters of fact and immaterial objects of intellectual rights. It hereby demonstrates what enables legal practitioners to render seemingly abstract philosophical notions workable as concrete performative legal concepts with important consequences. The insights acquired into law in action are subsequently mobilized in the analysis of several legal theories. The use of figures, concepts and points of view from legal practices within the discourse of legal philosophy, leads to a shift in existing theoretical constellations. A conflict-based approach hereby also provides a different way of thinking about the nature of law. The jury called the way Van Dijk elaborated this topic very original. In addition, the jury praised the ‘refressing relevance’ of the thesis and the used material.

Winner 2013: Nanda Oudejans

The winner of the VWR-dissertation award 2013 is Nanda Oudejans. She received the award for her dissertation “Asylum: a Philosophical Inquiry into the International Protection of Refugees”.

In Asylum. A Philosophical Inquiry into the International Protection of Refugees Oudejans critically assesses the international response to the refugee dilemma. Although asylum is an essential and supposedly self-evident concept in international law, there is no agreement within the international community on the meaning of the word asylum. Oudejans argues that this lack of understanding with respect to the concept of asylum is at the root of current failures in the international refugee protection regime. Oudejans engages with the legal and political debate, but also addresses the fundamental and philosophical questions that refugees raise for democratic states. Therefore, the book not only refreshes the understanding of the refugee question, but also offers a new theory on collective identity and popular sovereignty. The jury praised the way Oudejans discusses the sensitive and delicate subject and the quality of the thesis.

The doctoral thesis of Nanda Oudejans is available under the title “Asylum: a Philosophical Inquiry into the International Protection of Refugees”,  ISBN 978-90-8891-317-4

Winner 2011: Luigi Corrias

The winner of the VWR-dissertation award 2011 is Luigi Corrias. He received the award for his thesis “The passivity of Law. Competence and Constitution into The European body politic. “

His dissertation Corrias examined the philosophical foundations of constitution and jurisdiction of the EU legal order. Based on the work of Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein, he developed an alternative theory of constituent power and constitutionalisation via an analogy with art. It is emphasized that the creation of something new while the unfolding of what already exists. Through an analysis of the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the EU powers, Corrias shows that something similar also applies to the creation of a new legal order. In its report, the jury praised the originality and depth of the thesis.

The Dissertation of Luigi Corrias is available at Springer under the title: ‘The Passivity of Law. Competence and Constitution in The European Court of Justice’. ISBN 978-94-007-1033-7.

Deze post is ook beschikbaar in: Dutch

Comments on this entry are closed.