WP4: Long-term (Self-)Representations of Justice

This WP departs from the idea that “not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done”. One of the most important relationships of justice to society and its citizens consists of the ways in which justice is represented and presents itself to the outside world. These (self-)representations are manifold and can be expressed through and shaped by various ‘media’, ranging from, for example, “sites of justice” such as monuments, buildings and execution sites, and literary, visual and other expressions in popular culture, to expert discourses, judicial statistics and law reviews reflecting a “scientific” professional culture of justice as well as technical information.

Since this field is so vast and an integrated multidisciplinary approach is still in the making at the international level, it has been decided to combine two targeted in-depth research projects with smaller exploratory studies. The two main projects are concerned with judicial iconography, allowing Belgium to catch up with this highly developed international field of research, and the new domain of judicial archaeology, with a focus on the “built” representations of justice such as court rooms, prison buildings, police quarters, etc. An important area for exploratory research concerns the role played by visual material and literature related to the judicial sphere in constructing collective representations of Society, more in particular in the representation of the colonial order, in the development of a ‘scientific culture of justice’ and in the symbolic representation of State power in the urban context.

Coordinators: Xavier Rousseaux & Veerle Massin

Partners involved: All


Associated research projects


Some realisations of WP4



WP4 (LongTermJust)
Picture: Plan of the institution for incorrigible girls of Bruges, 1946. © State Archives in Beveren (Rijkskliniek en Rijksopvoedinggesticht te Brugge).

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