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SNAS Seminar: Professor Emmanuel Lazega

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Event Details


We are happy to announce the details of the fourth talk of the Social Network Analysis in Scotland group (SNAS) seminar series 2021-2022.


The fourth talk of the series is on Tuesday 8th February at 16:00-17:00 UK time. Please see below for more information on the talk, and how to join via Zoom.

Multilevel networks in transnational institution building: The case of the European Unified Patent Court

Presenter: Prof Emmanuel Lazega (Sciences Po (Paris Institute of Political Studies), France)

Tuesday 8th February at 16:00-17:00 UK time

This presentation looks at the emergence of a new type of (non-EU) European institution, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), that is in the process of hiring judges from 24 countries to start becoming operational in 2022, after European governments failed to create such an institution within the EU in 1973. For multinational corporations and large patentees, the UPC represents the prospect of creating, over time, a unified intellectual property regime for technological innovation in Europe. The focus is on a small network of institutional (here: judicial) entrepreneurs, a collegial oligarchy of national patent judges brought together, without a political mandate, by technocratic elites (Brussels high level administrators and representatives of the private/public European Patent Office) to drive the process of "harmonization" of national procedural and substantive patent laws and lobby for the emergence of this institution. Of particular interest to political network analysts, the relational process brought to light in this study teases out institutional convergence dynamics as the outcome of two social processes combined: the selection of ex ante leaders among these peers and normative alignments by the other judges on these ex ante leaders - a case of anticipatory socialization trying to unobtrusively neutralize divergent interpretations of the contemporary European patent. Highlighting this under-examined articulation of relational infrastructures and cultural framing in transnational institutionalization points to the current democratic deficit in Europe, but more generally to the role of collegial oligarchies and small multilevel networks of "top-down collegiality" in the emergence of such a new type of institution.


Prof Emmanuel Lazega’s research contributes to the development of a neo-structural sociology that brings together organisational analysis and social network analysis to understand how collective action works. This approach observes, models, articulates, and compares the generic social processes of meso-level social life (e.g., particularistic solidarities and exclusions, socialisation and collective learning, social control and conflict management, regulation and institutionalisation) in order to better understand how contemporary “organisational society” functions at the meso level.


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Meeting ID: 838 2745 4064

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