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European Legal Studies Institute (ELSI)

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Granular Society - Granular Law?

Individuality and Normative Models in the Data Society

 With the rapid pace of the digital transformation of economy and society, new data-driven business models, which are based on the collection and processing of large amounts of data are being developed almost on a daily basis. The spectrum ranges from personalized marketing to individualized insurance tariffs and personalized medicine. At the same time, sociologists are observing the dissolution of collective categories, an increased focus on finely chiseled differences between individuals and the emergence of a "society of singularities" (Andreas Reckwitz).

So far, research on the legal implications of these new developments mainly focuses on elaborating a regulatory framework for the new business models in the emerging data society. However, a different aspect of the digital transformation has received little attention: The "datafication" of individuals and their social relations could have a fundamental impact on the architecture of the legal system itself and the relationship between law and individuality. The emergence of big data could redefine the "optimal complexity" (Louis Kaplow) of legal norms and the granularity of the entire legal system. In the future, "granular" legal norms could enable a radical personalization of the law and fundamentally change the equilibrium between individual fairness, legal certainty, individuality and equality.

In order to understand the conditions and consequences of a "granularization" of the law in the data society, an integrated research approach shall be developed which combines the latest research on "personalized law" with perspectives from comparative law and legal history, legal theory, economics, sociology and media studies into an original and holistic research approach.

The project is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung under a Momentum Grant (2019-2025).


Selected publications:

C. Busch, Granulares Sachenrecht: Abschied vom numerus clausus im Internet of Things, in: Grothe/Mankowski/Rieländer (Hrsg.), Europäisches und Internationales Privatrecht: Festschrift für Christian von Bar zum 70. Geburtstag, München 2022, S. 39-47. 

C. Busch, Granular Property Law: Recalibrating Optimal Standardization of Property Rights in the Internet of Things, European Legal Studies Institute Osnabrück Research Paper Series No. 22-01, 2022, Working Paper verfügbar auf SSRN:

C. Busch & A. De Franceschi (Hrsg.) Algorithmic Regulation and Personalized Law, C.H. Beck & Hart Publishing, Munich, Oxford 2021, 292 S.

C. Busch, Abschied von der Typisierung? Granularisierung von Rechtsnormen durch künstliche Intelligenz, Rethinking Law 2021, S. 67-69.

C. Busch, La mise en oeuvre de la personnalisation du droit: Les obligations d’information en droit de la consommation et la protection des données personnelles, in: G’sell (ed.) Le Big Data et le Droit, Dalloz, Paris 2020, S. 155-176.

C. Busch, 个性化经济中的算法规制和(不)完美执行 (Algorithmische Regulierung und (Un)Perfekte Rechtsdurchsetzung in der Personalisierten Wirtschaft), 41 Global Law Review 5 (2019) [Zeitschrift der Chinese Academy of Social Sciences]

C. Busch, Implementing Personalized Law: Personalized Disclosures in Consumer Law and Data Privacy Law, 86 University of Chicago Law Review 309-331 (2019). Working Paper verfügbar auf SSRN:

C. Busch & A. De Franceschi, Granular Legal Norms: Big Data and the Personalization of Private Law, in: Mak et al. (eds.) Research Handbook on Data Science and Law, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham 2018, S. 408-424.