The meeting will be held in Lecture Room VII, Brasenose College.

The role of law in the process of European integration has recently become a subject of great interest for scholars. Increasingly, scholars are looking at the normative implications of the role of EU law; that is, to what extent it lies at the root of instances of (in)justice, democracy, authority or freedom that the EU generates. It is no longer taken for granted that EU law simply translates the preferences of the political institutions in the EU. Rather, scholars are articulating how systemic biases, institutional asymmetries, and judicial decisions have created a very particular role for law in the integration process, and how that role has significant normative implications. This talk will examine the emancipatory potential of EU law. Approaching EU law from the perspective of emancipation exposes its ambiguities. As such, EU law is at the same time structurally committed to emancipation and deeply suspicious of the national processes that allow for emancipation. This role of EU law – essentially releasing the individual from communitarian constraints – is not without problems. On the one hand, EU law is not consistent in the way it problematizes instances of domination. On the other hand, this focus on instances of individual domination obscures the ways in which communitarian obligations serve emancipatory goals themselves.


Dr Floris de Witte is Assistant Professor in the Law Department of the LSE. His research focuses on the interaction between EU law and political theory, in particular within the context of free movement and the Euro-crisis. He sits on the board of the GLJ and ELJ.