Professor David Schiff and Professor Richard Nobles have organised and will chair two sessions at the Law and Society Association Conference in Boston, 30 May - 2 June 2013. Their two sessions, on 31 May, at which they present one of the 10 papers are on the topic of Socio-Legal Conversations across Systems in a World in Crisis and their paper is entitled 'At the Edge of Crisis: Mass Media Constructions of Law's Operations'.
'The Socio-Legal Conversations across Systems in a World in Crisis sessions will discuss a number of papers considering what systems theory brings to talk of a world on the edge, or in crisis. The instabilities, both within systems, and in the relationships between systems, are commonly communicated about in terms of crisis (such as financial crisis, environmental crisis, constitutional crisis, moral crisis). In many examples of communications about crisis legal questions are significantly implicated. For example, the mass media periodically communicate about crisis in relation to the legal system through dissemination in articles discussing ‘a political crisis’, ‘a crisis in criminal justice’, ‘an economic crisis’, etc. The subject of crisis has recently been considered in essays, especially in relation to the current ‘financial crisis’ in Kjaer, Teubner and Febbrajo (eds) The Financial Crisis in Constitutional Perspective (Hart Publishing, 2011). The focus of the papers in these sessions will be on law’s contribution to both the creation and diffusion of different communications about a world on the edge, or in crisis. Systems theory, through its concepts of closure and structural coupling, provides means to examine law’s ability both to stabilise and de-stabilise other social systems, both to engender and displace other system’s communications about crisis.'