Programme

Law and Political Economy (LPE) constitutes an emergent approach in legal scholarship, rooted in a commitment to a more egalitarian and democratic society. This normative vision shapes not only the questions LPE asks but also its fundamental presuppositions. Contrary to an understanding of markets as natural, neutral, and self-regulating, LPE draws from legal realism to highlight their artificiality and, specifically, their nature as products of legal ordering. This emphasis on the constitutive function of law also entails a belief in the potential of the law to address socio-economic crises and to generate socio-political transformation. Within legal pedagogy, LPE rejects the dipole private law/public law, which has disconnected questions of justice from the economy. While private law deals with questions of liberty of contract, efficiency, and wealth maximization, without addressing their broader socio-economic consequences, public law tends to be oblivious to the relevance of constitutional values for the economic order. More than an exclusive set of topics, LPE is a nascent methodology, in the sense that it prioritizes a set of questions and suppositions within legal research. More specifically, it asks: How does the law reproduce inequality? Where is private power? How can it be democratized? How is the rule of law depoliticized and how does technocracy substitute substantive legal rationalities that concretize political priorities? LPE has so far remained framed by the priorities, methods, and theoretical inquiries of U.S. legal scholarship (e.g., https://lpeblog.org/). Therefore, the workshop aspires to pose the question: How do the fundamental questions of LPE relate to Europe and to its civil and common law traditions?

The goal of the workshop is to start a discussion on the potential of LPE for Europe. The selected contributions will address supranational or national legal structures, while comparative approaches are also encouraged. Interdisciplinary and empirical legal research is also particularly welcome. Yet, the abovementioned questions set by LPE can apply in different areas of legal research. Topics of interest include, indicatively:

  • Corporate governance
  • Environmental justice
  • European law and the future of integration through law
  • Human rights and inequality
  • Labour law, especially transnational labour law
  • Legal theory and history of economic thought
  • Monetary policy and financial regulation
  • Socio-legal research with an emphasis on inequality

The Workshop is conceived of as a day-long event at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. Emphasis will be given on discussion among the participants and reflection upon the unifying themes and questions addressed by the workshop, rather than on individual projects. There is no participation fee and lunch and snacks will be provided. Immediately following the workshop, Prof. Amy Kapczynski (Yale Law School), Co-Director of the Law and Political Economy Project, will give a seminar on ‘Theorizing Law and Political Economy in the Era of Neoliberalism’.