Law and Political Economy (LPE) is an approach to legal scholarship – rooted in the idea that politics and the economy are necessarily interrelated, and are products of legal ordering. It questions the constitutive role of law in perpetuating the socio-economic crises of our time, but also asks how legal scholarship can be conducive to a more egalitarian and democratic society. Both a research agenda and a nascent methodology, LPE raises questions for a number of legal disciplines, and more broadly, for the direction of academia. In response to a growing global LPE research community, our first seminar introduces the foundations of LPE research and its implications for the academic community at the University of Oxford.

Oxford Law and Political Economy (LPE)

To inaugurate Oxford LPE, our first seminar begins with the normative vision of LPE and its key presuppositions. Drawing on legal realism, LPE challenges the idea that markets are neutral or self-regulating, and asks us to identify essential respects in which law constructs the prevailing market setting. Re-embedding law’s constitutive function in political economy invites us to re-imagine how law may be used to address these various socio-economic crises – rising inequality and precarity, entrenched racial hierarchies, and ecological catastrophe. 

As a normative project for legal academia, moreover, LPE challenges the pedagogical divide between public and private law. On the one hand, this dichotomous view precludes the consideration of broader socio-economic consequences that emanate from private law arrangements, which is said to be a neutral arbiter of efficiency and wealth maximisation. Relatedly, questions of justice and freedom are seen to fall more appropriately within the ambit public law, which can be blind to the impacts of constitutional values on the economic order. By contrast, LPE seeks to provide a unifying framework to consider the interrelation of social problems as they affect private law and public law disciplines. It asks: how does the law reproduce inequality? Where is private power? How can it be democratised? How is the rule of law depoliticised and how does technocracy substitute substantive legal rationalities that concretise political priorities? 

The seminar seeks to reflect on what the implications of LPE are for research on this side of the Atlantic. As an approach emergent in the legal scholarship of the United States, there is a need to reflect on the priorities, methods, and theoretical inquiries of LPE research at the University of Oxford. As a pioneer in this discussion, we are joined by Dr Ioannis Kampourakis to reflect on the possible contribution of a Law and Political Economy research agenda in Europe. 

If you would like to attend, please register here.


Speaker – Dr. Ioannis Kampourakis

Dr. Ioannis Kampourakis is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Erasmus School of Law (ESL), Erasmus University Rotterdam, working under the theme ‘The Rule of Law in the Face of Rising Private Powers’. Ioannis' areas of research include legal theory, political economy, and EU and international law, with a focus on transnational economic governance. Drawing from the governance and regulation of Global Value Chains, Ioannis attempts to map and analyze the transformations in the form and function of law in contemporary supply chain capitalism. Prior to joining ESL, Ioannis held postdoctoral positions at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, and at the Edmond J Safra Center for Ethics, Tel Aviv University. He is currently also a Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University, a Visiting Lecturer at the Riga Graduate School of Law, and a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Oxford. Ioannis holds a PhD in Law from the Free University of Berlin, where he studied as a stipendiary Fellow of the international doctoral program, 'Human Rights Under Pressure'. He also holds a Master's in Public Law from Université Paris I-Sorbonne and an LLB from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. 

Reading (Indicative only)

A Primer (3-5min read) Jedediah Britton-Purdy, Amy Kapczynski and David Singh Grewal, ‘Towards a Manifesto’ (2020)

– Ioannis Kampourakis, ‘Bound by the Economic Constitution: Notes for “Law and Political Economy” in Europe’ (2021) 1(2) J Pol Econ 301

– Jedediah Britton-Purdy, David Singh Grewal, Amy Kapczynski and K. Sabeel Rahman, ‘Building a Law-and-Political-Economy Framework: Beyond the Twentieth-Century Synthesis’ (2020) 129(6) Yale L J 1784