• Jean Monnet Module “European Values in Context: Challenges and Comparative Insights(ENACTING) [2022-2025]

The Jean Monnet Module ENACTING, funded by the European Union, aims to spread knowledge of a crucial component of European constitutional law, i.e., the place and functions of the founding values, through a number of teaching activities and events, including a workshop and a final conference. The JM Module is based on a background hypothesis: Article 2 values may serve different purposes, ranging from constitutional crises in some Member States to the law of European political parties and political foundations and to European criminal law. Still, a unitary, consistent consideration of their implications is needed.

Training activities organized within the Module are intended for students, representatives of national institutions, and civil society at large. Recordings of many of these seminars are freely available on the YouTube channel of STALS.

The project, funded by the European Union within the Next Generation EU programme, aims to highlight the multiple meanings of identity and identity-related arguments in public Law. The project moves along the line of tension between identity democracy and the constitutions of pluralist democracies, enhancing the different implications of this notion, both exclusionary and inclusive. At the same time, the project considers the use of identity-based arguments in processes of constitutional retrogression or democratic backsliding in the last fifteen years: distinctive readings of history and religious traditions play a key role in shaping identitarian arguments.

The project combines a theoretical dimension, one of internal law and a comparative one. It is based on the cooperation of four units located, respectively, at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, the University of Foggia, the University of Siena, and the Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna. Cooperation between these units aims to focus on the importance of the notion of identity for public law as a whole, with in-depth analyses of constitutional law, comparative public law, canon law, and ecclesiastical law perspectives. The project also benefits from interdisciplinary contributions thanks to the presence of a political science scholar in the research unit of the University of Siena.

The kick-off meeting was held on 6 December 2023. The first thematic workshop is currently being organised and will be held in Foggia on 28-29 May 2024.


EXPRESS2 is a project that addresses the growing demand for a new, more democratic, inclusive, and sustainable social contract in the EU. To achieve this, the project will work to create a more appealing and legitimate EU social contract draft that will be submitted to inhabitants, Member States, and EU institutions that will have the possibility to participate and decide upon the conditions, rights, and obligations to be binding. The goal is to strengthen the EU agreement by association by promoting social dialogue, civic engagement, and integration.

The project will also focus on identifying and analyzing disruptive elements of the social contract, such as insecurity, populism, climate change, mistrust in institutions, gender discrimination, digitalization, and pandemics. The analysis of these stressors includes both individualized and cross-sectional approaches to cover the plausible relation of multiple disruptors, their concatenation, or the “trigger” effect of a disruptive phenomenon on another. By understanding these disruptive elements and their effects on the social contract, the project will propose concrete measures to ironclad the social contract and provide relevant information to protect it from actual and potential disruptions; thus, the academic scholars involved conceive social contracts as incomplete theorized agreements and living documents.

SSSA will lead a WP dealing with populism as a factor of erosion of the EU social contract. 

  • Jean Monnet Chair on “European and International Human Rights Standards in Conflicts and Disasters (EIHRSCaD) [2023-2025]

The project explores normative developments in the relationship between human rights and armed conflict and disaster situations, mainly through research and teaching activities.

The project’s main objective is to examine how Legal Preparedness can enhance policies and activities to prevent and address public health crises. It is guided by the intention to support pursuing the health-related goals stemming from Next Generation EU (e.g., the EU4Health program) and the Italian PNRR (Mission 6 ‘Health’). The project adheres to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG 3 on health and wellbeing, SDG 16 on inclusive institutions).

  • Inter-legality [2019-2024]

The project is premised on the assumption that the current doctrinal view of law as a system-related concept fails to describe the overwhelming interweaving among different legalities sourced by state, regional, or global orders and regimes. It envisages Inter-legality as a state of fact, calling upon interpreters and judges to work on a new fabric of legal problems. A number of leading scholars, from Private Law to Constitutional and International Law gathered in a three-year funded project, that led to the publication of a Cambridge University Press book titled “The Challenge of Inter-Legality” (2019), edited by Jan Klabbers and Gianluigi Palombella, in collaboration with renowned researchers from several countries.

  • Environment, Climate Change, in the light of Inter-legality

The research aims at discovering and explaining those material and legal interconnections that make environmental issues an extraordinary case in point of the new frontiers of law in the XXI century. Closely related to climate change and the moral and legal issues of intergenerational justice, the analysis of environmental regulation across borders and the role of Courts and litigation offers a unique opportunity both to tackle the dangerous trends of the environmental future and to revise legal arrangements as a complex compact of diverse and interrelated regimes.

  • Human Rights and Democracy

A legal philosophical approach to the question of rights between the global and the national dimensions. What makes human rights a credible normative obligation? What are the relations between the rights enshrined in regional or supranational conventions and domestic Constitutions? What is the interplay between democratic rule and individual rights?

These are the main questions in an ‘age of rights’ when sovereignty barriers are fading while States’ action remains the most appropriate premise for rights protection.

  • The Rule of Law

The research inquiries upon the concept’s theoretical and historical meaning and significance, its diverse incarnations, its change in time, and institutional variation. The rule of law is assessed as a central notion to regional, universal, and national charters, and in relation to domestic and international contexts. Consideration is made of a number of border-line domains, especially among European Member States, but also elsewhere, displaying an alleged crisis of such a canon of legal civilization and of the features of its socio-political circumstances.