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Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research


Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research
Kerwin Hall Suite 109

Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Conceptualizing and Measuring Justice

The Washington Institute for Public Affairs Research at American University and the Center for Justice, Law and Society at George Mason University hosted a series of two workshops at the National Science Foundation to advance scholarship and forge connections on the twin issues of conceptualizing and measuring justice. Bringing together 30 scholars over the course of two workshops, these sessions permitted researchers from a variety of perspectives to share and learn from one another and to disseminate the lessons to a variety of disciplines while also helping to cultivate a new generation of scholars.


Conceptualizing and Measuring Justice Conference

May 5-6, George Mason University

This is the second of two workshops and will focus on how we operationalize justice in empirical research. Workshop organizers will reconvene scholars and practitioners from the first workshop to discuss how we move from concepts of justice to measurements of justice.

The workshop is funded by NSF (SES 1022712) and co-sponsored by the Center for Justice, Law & Society at George Mason University and the Washington Institute for Public and International Affairs Research at American University. Please contact Shannon Portillo at to learn more.

Meeting Agenda | Concept Papers

Law and Society Association Annual Meeting - Roundtables

June 2-5, San Francisco

Two roundtables will convene. The first roundtable focuses broadly on the work of the Conceptualizing Justice workshop in December 2010:

The term “justice” has broad academic appeal, and the effective promotion of justice is often touted as a goal of policy makers and practitioners in a wide range of fields. Justice, however, is measured and conceptualized differently based on academic discipline and policy orientation. Traditionally the idea of justice is a philosophical and moral concept. But, as the concept of justice has served as part of the foundation of more practice and policy orientated fields, the term has been adapted to each area of inquiry. For more information please contact organizer Shannon Portillo at

Notes from the Roundtable on Conceptualizing Justice in Socio-Legal Research

The second roundtable focuses on Justice Indicators:

At the international level, considerable effort has been spent creating indicators that predict or describe the conditions for human rights or justice in various countries. The World Justice Project, for example, has created a Rule of Law Index, which provides multiple measures for comparing conditions in 35 countries. But, while non-governmental organizations, multi-national bodies, and the international community have addressed cross-country comparisons, little effort has been paid to envisioning, let alone establishing, indicators for domestic justice within the United States. Indeed, these questions seem to be a "no go area" in American political life, a condition that may be amplified by the failure of scholars to conceptualize what these measures might entail. This roundtable brings together a group of researchers working on these questions to discuss what the factors might include and how the process might proceed. For more information please contact the organizer, Jon Gould at