Florian Grisel

Florian Grisel Please write a bit about your background.

I was born and raised in a small village in the North of France (Normandy), studied social sciences and law in Paris (Sciences Po, Sorbonne, ENS) and the United States (Columbia, Yale), and took the bar in New York and Paris. I have also done research and worked in a few other places (Germany, Switzerland, Italy and of course the UK). I am married to a Swiss woman, have two brothers, and two wonderful nieces who grow up in California.  

What led you to a career in academia?

I have always loved academic debates and writing. After my PhD, I worked for a US law firm specialising in international arbitration, which further convinced me to join academia... I was also very lucky to meet, at an early stage of my career, some senior academics who mentored me and deeply shaped my professional career. I took my first academic job in 2013, and I have never regretted my choice!

What are your research interests and why have you chosen those particular areas?

I have always been fascinated by the notion of "law without state," and studied international arbitration as an example of parallel justice system in my PhD thesis. I argued in a subsequent book that this system of private justice emulates state courts, leading to its "judicialization." In my last book, I retrace the evolution of a medieval court in a community of fishers in the South of France (Marseille). My argument based on this case study is that systems of "private governance" presents limitations that are often ignored in the social science literature.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working on two research projects. One deals with Wikipedia's supreme court (called the "arbitration committee"). My goal is to measure and theorise the impact of "social capital" on the decisions of this arbitration committee. Another project, which I am conducting with an Australian colleague, focuses on the sociology of the International Court of Justice.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? / What is the best thing about living/working in Oxford?

I love outdoor activities and, whenever I find the time, I try to go hiking, running, cycling, swimming, horse riding, or skiing (in the Swiss Alps). One of the things that I prefer about Oxford is that it is so easy to combine these activities with an academic career. Oxford also reminds me, by its weather and vegetation, of the North of France where I grew up.

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