12 Jul

Kick-Off Webinar: Reimagining Social Contracts

Organized by:Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law
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Context: Unpacking KPSRL Thematic Headline Towards KPAC22

In the run-up to our KPSRL Annual Conference (‘KPAC22’) in October, KPSRL wants to start unpacking this year’s thematic headline of ‘Reimagining Social Contracts’. The idea for such an ‘unpacking trajectory’ is firstly exploring the concept itself in this kick-off webinar, after which we further apply it to more specific subthemes in subsequent events or deliverables.

The Kick-Off Webinar

On Tuesday 12 July (14:30 – 16:00 CEST), we will host our kick-off webinar in order to:

(1) unpack the uses of the concept of a ‘social contract’ for the Security & Rule of Law sector.

(2) gather input from our community on possible contributions to the other ‘unpacking activities’.

In the webinar, we suggest to explore the usefulness (and redundancy) of the lens of social contracts for SRoL: how is such a concept useful in contexts with limited state capacity and/or intra-elite competition? What can or should Western SRoL actors learn from ‘non-Western’ ideas of social contracts? And how can this lens help us to reimagine security and rule of law arrangements, or SRoL interventions? Do we see recent (regional) trends of how (re)negotiations of social contracts take form?

We do that by looking at the Middle East and North Africa region, with the help of these two discussants:

  • Amal Bourhrous works for SIPRI, where she worked on several reports on social contracts in the MENA region (namely Libya, Iraq and Lebanon) from several angles. A.o., this entails a paper on protests across the region, the (ethno)sectarian political systems in Iraq and Lebanon, and an exploration of how Iraqis envision a reimagined social contract.
  • Laila Al-Zwaini will bring in her experience as an Arabist and legal expert, researching ‘non-Western’ concepts of citizenship, civil, civility and civilization (madaniya) and non-western forms of key services for a social contract (shari’a law) – concepts that can provoke the SRoL community to think beyond its western-oriented state principles.


It will be a 90 minutes session where two discussants kick off the conversation in a moderated, 35 minute conversation during which there will already be moments where the KPSRL community can join in. However, the remaining time is specifically dedicated for discussion amongst the audience.


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