Siri Gloppen


Professor , Director, Centre on Law & Social Transformation


Department of Government

Research groups


I have extensive experience leading international, interdisciplinary research teams. Over the last ten years, I have been the PI for six multi-year projects, acquired through competitive grants and involving researchers from institutions on five continents and from a range of disciplines (Law, Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Medicine). I have also played a central role in acquiring grants for and implementing eight other research projects in this period. The projects focus on the role of rights, law and courts in political change and social development, investigating how this plays out in different fields – from climate change, indigenous rights, land- and water rights, via health, reproductive right and gender equality, to elections and autocratization dynamics.  Commitment to excellent, interdisciplinary, research addressing urgent global challenges is at the centre of the projects, which are ambitious in terms of theory development, methodology and empirical analysis. They are also implemented in close dialogue with practitioners and students.

The close integration of research and learning are also at the core of the Centre on Law & Social Transformation (LawTransform) of which I am the founding director. LawTransform is jointly owned by the Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen but is a global Centre with fellows from all continents and a wide range of disciplines. The annual research conference, Bergen Exchanges on Law & Social Transformation – which includes a PhD course – brings together internationally leading scholars, students and practitioners and have become a vitalizing space for socio-legal research in Bergen and a global hub for research on law and social change. LawTransform, and the individual research projects involve practitioners – judges, policy makers, activist – as dialogue partners to secure that their insights are reflected, that the projects are useful, and the findings known. I have also extended the research into more directly applied work (World Bank, Norad).

My main contribution to the field of socio-legal studies is the conceptualisation, theorisation and empirical study of the use of law and legal institutions at a political tool and strategy for social change – how this plays out in different contexts, is engaged by diverse actors, and in various policy fields and institutional arenas. This includes conceptualising and analysing how actors face different legal and political opportunity structures based on their resources, barriers and allies, as well as how they are normative and epistemically embedded. In recent years I have particularly focused on the use of legal arenas and strategies in long-standing political battles between starkly opposed groups – theorised as lawfare.  Based on this theoretical core, I have developed analytical frameworks for the different projects I have directed to systematically explore legal-political dynamics and lawfare processes across regions and thematic fields.


I have developed and taught a range of courses, including fully digital**courses – at UiB:

PhD Courses:

Climate Change Governance (2020**, 2014); Effects of Lawfare (2020**, 2015-2019); Rights as Governance & Political Tools: Gender Based Violence (2018); Inequality & Governance (2015); Health Litigation (2010); Human Rights & Poverty (2008)

MA Courses:

Climate Change Governance (2021**, 2013) Constitution & Politics (with UiB Law School 2014-2020) Law as Political Strategy (2017, 2018); Breaking BAD, Backlash against democracy (2019); Deepening Democracy - Democratic Innovations (2012) Previous courses: Checking the State; Constitutionalism; Citizenship; Human Rights & Social Justice; International Justice

BA Courses:

Courts, Law & Politics (annually since 2015) Political Theory (1995-2000)

Co-organized a Global School Graduate Course on Health Litigation at Harvard (2014)


Selected publications:


  • Juridification & Social Citizenship. Ed. with Henriette Aasen, Anne M Magnussen & Even Nilssen (E. Elgar, 2014)
  • Klima, medier og politikk. With Elisabeth Eide, Dag Elgesem, Lise Rakner, L. (Eds.). (2014). Abstrakt forlag AS.
  • Climate Talk: Rights, Poverty & Justice. With Jackie Dugard & Asun L. St.Clair (Eds) (Juta, 2013)
  • Litigating Health Rights: Can Courts Bring Justice to Health. With Alicia E Yamin (Eds) HLS Human Rights Programme Series with Harvard University Press (2011). Spanish Translation published by Siglo XXI (Argentina) in March 2013
  • Courts and Power in Latin America and Africa. Co-authored with Bruce Wilson, Roberto Gargarella, Elin Skaar Palgrave McMillan (2010)
  • Globalization and Democratization: Challenges for Political Parties. Ed. with L. Rakner. Fagbokforlaget (2007).
  • Roads to Reconciliation. Ed. with E. Skaar and A. Suhrke. Lexington Books (2005)
  • Democratization  and the Judiciary. Ed. with R. Gargarella and E. Skaar) London: Frank Cass (2004)
  •  South Africa: Battle over the Constitution. Ashgate (1997)

Articles and chapters:     

  • “The Climate Crisis: Litigation and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”. With Catalina Vallejo. in Dugard (eds) Research Handbook on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as Human Rights. Edward Elgar Publishing, (2020). (Jointly conceptualized and written.)
  • “LGBT rights in Africa” With Lise Rakner. Chapter 15 in Ashford, C., & Maine, Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality, and the Law. Edward Elgar, (2020) (Jointly conceptualized and co-written)
  • “Political determinants of sustainable development goals.” With Camila Gianella and Marta Machado, The Lancet 390.10112 (2017): 2545-2546. (Jointly conceptualized and co-written)
  • “Studying Courts in Context” in LD Haglund & R Stryker, (eds) Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Emerging Possibilities for Social Transformation. University of California Press (2015)
  • “Grabbing development: Courts, corruption and judicial independence” In T. Søreide & A. Williams (eds) Corruption, Grabbing and Development: Real World Challenges. E. Elgar Publ. (2014)
  • “Red-Green Lawfare: Climate Justice Discourse in Courtrooms” with Catalina Vallejo, in (J. Dugard et al eds) Climate Talk: Rights, Poverty & Justice (Juta, 2014) (I developed the theoretical framework, Vallejo collected most of the data, jointly analyzed and written)
  • “Judging the price of life: cost considerations in right-to-health litigation” with Octavio Ferraz, Ottar Mæstad, and Lise Rakner, in H. Aasen et al. (Eds.). (2014). Juridification and social citizenship in the welfare state. Edward Elgar Publishing (2014). (I led conceptualization and analysis, co-wrote chapter).
  • “Human Rights Based Approaches to Development: Concepts, Evidence, and Policy”, with Varun Gauri, Polity, 44(4): pp 485–50 (2012), (Jointly conceptualized and written)
  • “Climate Change Lawfare” with Asun St Clair, Social Inquiry. 79(4), 2012, pp 899-930) (I developed the theoretical framework, and collected most of the data, jointly written)
  • “Judicial independence and judicialization of electoral politics in Malawi and Uganda”. With Fidelis Edge Kanyongolo In D Chirwa & L. Nijzink,  Accountable Government in Africa: Perspectives from Public Law and Political Science. University of Cape Town Press/UN University Press (2012) (Jointly conceptualized, joint data collection, jointly written)

- Director - Centre on Law & Social Transformation (UiB - CMI 2014-) 

- PI - Political determinants of sexual and reproductive health: Criminalization, health impacts and game changers (UiB - CMI 2016-2021)

- PI - LawTransform: Effects of Rights & Law (UiB - 2017-2022)

- PI - Sexual and Reproductive Rights Lawfare: Global Battles (UiB - CMI 2014-2018)

- Research coordinator 2013-2015 - PluriCourts - Centre for the Study of the Legitimacy of the Global Judiciary (University of Oslo, Faculty of Law - Centre of Excellence, 2013-)

- Team member - Abortion Lawfare in Latin America (UiB - CMI 2014-2017)

- PI - Land Rights and Inclusive Sustainable Development in India (UiB - CMI 2013-2016)

- PI - Institutionalizing the Right to Health in Health Service Delivery (Norad/CMI/World Bank 2014-2016)

- Team member - Climate Change Discourse, Rights and the Poor (UiB - CMI 2010-2012)

- PI - The right to health through litigation? Can court enforced health rights improve health policy and priority-setting in poor countries? (Co-operation between CMI, Faculty of Medicine, UiB, Harvard University, researchers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, South Africa, India, Bangladesh - 2008-2012)