Norm, normal and disruption: Introductory notes



Disruption, normal, pathological, normalization, legal norms, perturbación, patológico, normalización, normas jurídicas


The eleven papers in this special issue analyze how different sources of disruption collide with normality, the consequences on individual, social and institutional life, and efforts to re-establish the old or to create a new normal. They arose from a series of online seminars in September and October 2020 investigating normality, disruption and normalization in the wake of the current environmental, technological, epidemiological and socio-economic shocks. Disruption is a window into the underlying fabric of social arrangements. It allows us to investigate the concept of normality and its implications, the tensions and conflicts between economic, social, legal and technological means used to re-establish normality. Technologies of normalization may paradoxically cause further disruptions. Human dignity is a landmark value in these inquiries. The introduction and the papers suggest possible measures to anticipate disruptions and consequent harms. They alert us to the risks to human dignity arising from disruption and from attempts to reimpose forms of normality.

Los once artículos de este número especial analizan la forma en que diferentes fuentes de perturbación colisionan con la normalidad, las consecuencias en la vida individual, social e institucional, y los esfuerzos para restablecer lo anterior o crear una nueva normalidad. Surgen de una serie de seminarios online de septiembre y octubre de 2020 que investigaban la normalidad, la perturbación y la normalización en la estela de los shocks medioambientales, tecnológicos, epidemiológicos y socioeconómicos de la actualidad. La perturbación es una ventana al tejido subyacente de los acuerdos sociales. Nos permite investigar el concepto de normalidad y sus implicaciones, las tensiones y los conflictos entre los medios económicos, sociales, jurídicos y tecnológicos empleados para restablecer la normalidad. Paradójicamente, las tecnologías de la normalización pueden causar más trastornos. La dignidad humana es un valor referente en estas investigaciones. La introducción y los artículos sugieren medidas posibles para anticiparnos a las perturbaciones y consiguientes daños, y nos alertan de los riesgos para la dignidad humana provenientes de la perturbación y de intentos de reimponer tipos de normalidad.

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Author Biographies

Richard Mohr, Social Research Policy & Planning

Dr Richard Mohr is an urban and legal sociologist and a director of Social Research Policy and Planning Pty Ltd. He has worked as a community health coordinator, planning and evaluation consultant and academic in Law, Architecture and Sociology at the University of Wollongong, Sydney University, UNSW, and McGill University. Email address:

Francesco Contini, IGSG-CNR

Francesco Contini is a senior researcher at the National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Legal Informatics and Judicial Systems ( He studies the institutional transformations of justice systems focusing on the intersections between the rule of law, technology and democratic legitimacy of the institutions. He collaborates with international organizations to promote judicial reforms in Europe, Africa, and Asia and is regularly called, as invited speaker, at the Italian School of Judges and the European Judicial Training Network. Some key publications: Judicial Evaluation with Richard Mohr (VDM, 2008), ICT and innovation in the public sector (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and The Circulation of Agency in e-Justice (Springer 2014) both edited with Giovan Francesco Lanzara, and Handle with Care: assessing and designing methods for evaluation and development of the quality of justice (IRSIG, 2017). With Sharyn Roach Anleu and David Rottman he has been editor of the OSLS special issue Evaluating Judicial Performance. Email address:

Patrícia Branco, University of Coimbra

Patrícia Branco is a researcher, hired under the Scientific Employment Stimulus Program (CEECIND / 00126/2017). Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra. Contact details: Colégio de S. Jerónimo, Apartado 3087, 3000-995 Coimbra, Portugal. Email:



How to Cite

Mohr, R., Contini, F. and Branco, P. (2022) “Norm, normal and disruption: Introductory notes”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 12(3), pp. 414–423. Available at: (Accessed: 26 June 2022).