Labour Law and Labour Markets: New Methodologies

On Friday, 25 November 2016, the University of Glasgow hosted a symposium on Labour Law and Labour Markets: New Methodologies. Organised by Professor Ruth Dukes and the Glasgow Legal Theory group, the symposium offered an opportunity for reflection on the appropriate methodologies to advance labour law and labour market analysis. Over the course of the day, eight original papers were delivered by leading academics, stimulating considerable discussion and debate. Diamond Ashiagbor, Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, opened the symposium with a critical assessment of an economic sociology of law, exploring particularly how social rights and markets interact in regional integration projects. This was followed with a defence of quantitative methods to demonstrate the nature and effect of labour law regulation by Simon Deakin, Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge and an introduction to the multiple methods, mainly qualitative, being used by Judy Fudge, Professor of Law at the University of Kent, in her research on the effects of legal characterisation in the area of ‘unfree labour’. Rounding off the morning with a paper on parental rights in Sweden, Associate Professor of Law at Lund University, Jenny Julén Votinius advanced an interdisciplinary approach to explore conflicting social and legal norms.

In the afternoon, Ruth Dukes, Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow, argued particularly for the development of approaches to the study of labour law derived from economic sociology, political economy and sociology of law, whilst Robert Knegt, Associate Professor at the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute of the University of Amsterdam, advocated for ‘the constitutive role of law and social practices’, and a historical viewpoint. In the final session, Shelley Marshall, Senior Lecturer at Monash University, introduced a historical institutionalist approach to evaluate the impact of the Better Factories Cambodia project, whilst Claire Mummé, Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor, concluded the day with a paper on the benefits of global value change analysis to domestic labour law. Titles and full abstracts of the papers are available here.

In providing a forum for these papers to be presented and discussed, the symposium underlined the importance of methodology to the current study of labour law and markets and invigorated the debate on future approaches.

~ Catriona Cannon

Catriona Cannon is a PhD student at the School of Law. Her thesis topic is 'Law and religion in the employment context' and she is supervised by Professors Ruth Dukes and Jane Mair.

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