Work on Demand: Contracting for Work in a Changing Economy
17-18 September 2020, University of Glasgow
In line with the aims of the Work on Demand research project, this conference focuses on the ever-evolving nature of contracts and contracting behaviour in the world of work. As the title suggests, a particular point of interest lies with the ‘gig’ or ‘on demand’ economy, however our interests extend to other forms of precarious or insecure work: casual and ‘zero-hours’ contracts, (bogus) self-employment. We wish in particular to understand how novel configurations of ‘contracting for work’ are shaped by public institutions and social structures: by social policy widely understood (employment law and policy, workplace regulation and enforcement mechanisms, taxation) and by the social integration and organization of sectoral and occupational workforces, as these both prefigure and respond to public intervention. The conference organisers welcome papers with a comparative dimension, analysing differences in forms of contract and contracting behaviour across jurisdictions and/or over the course of several decades. We also welcome papers that employ approaches and methods drawn from fields other than law to study contracts for work and labour laws, our aim being to understand both the role of law in constituting markets and, at the same time, the inherently political nature of the question of how markets are constituted, how they are combined with or constrained by non-market institutions and modes of action and interaction.
Organisation and Funding
The conference is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 757395 Work on Demand). It is hosted at the University of Glasgow by the Work on Demand team: Ruth Dukes, Alessio Bertolini, Aude Cefaliello, Gregoris Ioannou, Eleanor Kirk and Ou Lin.
Participants, Titles and Abstracts
Diamond Ashiagbor (Kent) – ‘Embedded Racialisation’: Racial Hierarchies in the Construction of Labour Markets and Precarity – Abstract
Alessio Bertolini (Glasgow) – The Political Economy of Labour Law Reform: Regulating Platform Work in Italy and the UK – Abstract
Manoj Dias-Abey (Bristol) – Regulatory Arbitrage, Labour Commodification and the Neoliberal State – Abstract
Ruth Dukes (Glasgow) and Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies) – Contract and Status at Work: Markets, Servants and Fiefdoms – Abstract
Gregoris Ioannou (Glasgow) – Modalities of Work in the Tourism and Catering Sector in Greece – Abstract
Valeria Pulignano (Leuven) – Workplace change and institutional experimentalism: A case of service work in Europe – Abstract
Eleanor Kirk (Glasgow) – Law and Legalities at Work: the Role of the HR Profession as Producers and Transmitters of Legal Ideology – Abstract
Miguel Martinez Lucio (Manchester) – Swimming against the tide? The challenge of implementing inclusive return-to-work schemes in a neo-workfare state – Abstract
Tonia Novitz (Bristol) – Gig work as a manifestation of short termism – the sustainability problem? – Abstract
Brishen Rogers (Temple, Georgetown) – Data analytics, employment laws, and industrial organization – Abstract
Noel Whiteside (Warwick) – Before the Gig Economy: UK employment policy and the casual labour problem – Abstract
R Diaz-Bone, C Didry, R Salais et al ‘Special Issue: Law and Conventions from a Historical Perspective’ (2015) 40(1) Historical Social Research 7-199.
W Streeck, ‘The Sociology of Labor Markets and Trade Unions’, in N Smelser and R Swedberg (eds), Handbook of Economic Sociology, second edition (New York: Russell Sage 2005), 254-283.
Approaches to Law and Legal Method
Spring 2020, University of Kent
Kent Law School has a rich tradition of researchers working on overlapping questions of law, political economy, social history, governance, development and what may be described as ‘social studies of labour regulation’. This speaker series contributes to that ongoing research, bringing together four highly experienced interdisciplinary scholars of law, to reflect on how legal methods evolve, and what it means to be a scholar undertaking humanities-inflected and social science-influenced legal research. On this occasion, Prof. Ruth Dukes will give a presentation on ‘Socio-Legal Methods in Labour Law: Then and Now’.
Normative Lessons of Economic Sociology for Labour Law
20 May 2019, University of Amsterdam
Center for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL) and the Law and Justice Across Borders are proud to announce an upcoming joint presentation by Prof. Ruth Dukes and Prof. Wolfgang Streeck “Normative Lessons of Economic Sociology for Labour Law.” The discussion will start with a paper by Ruth Dukes titled The Economic Sociology of Labour Law. The discussion will continue with a broader commentary by Wolfgang Streeck titled Occupational Communities and the Legal Regulation of Contracts of Work, which will expand on Professor Dukes’ paper and tackle how insights of economic sociology of labor markets, or “contracting for labor”, could contribute to the normative mission of jurisprudence.
The launch of the Work on Demand project
18-19 October 2018, University of Glasgow
On 18-19 October, the Work on Demand (WorkOD) research project was launched at the School of Law, University of Glasgow. It was attended by several renowned scholars from Europe and beyond, including members of the project’s advisory panel: Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies Cologne), Karl Klare (Northeastern University), Kerry Rittich (University of Toronto), Simon Deakin (University of Cambridge), Sabine Frerichs (Institute for Sociology and Social Research Vienna), Diamond Ashiagbor (University of Kent), Fred Block (University of California Davis) and Emilios Christodoulidis (University of Glasgow).
On 18 October, as part of the project Launch, Ruth Dukes gave an Inaugural Lecture entitled Critical Labour Law: Then and Now. The lecture can be viewed here.
On 19 October, an opening session was dedicated to the presentation of the overall project by Ruth, followed by the presentation of the three individual sub-projects developed by each of the research associates. Eleanor Kirk’s project will investigate the role of workers’ and HR managers’ legal consciousness in affecting contracting behaviour. Alessio Bertolini aims to analyse policymakers’ and policy stakeholders’ understanding of the policy issue and identification of policy solutions to the regulation of work on demand. Finally, Gregoris Ioannou intends to consider the internalisation of market and neoliberal norms and values by workers involved in jobs on demand.
In the second part of the event, the advisory panel members provided feedback and suggestions on the project proposals and on a position paper written by Ruth, ‘The Economic Sociology of Labour Law’. The proposals were well received by all members of the panel and the scope of the project was regarded as innovative, while its aims were judged as extremely ambitious and valuable. Several members of the audience provided their positive feedback and contributed to the discussion. Overall the event was characterised by a very friendly and inclusive atmosphere, testified also by the fact that several of the discussions started during the sessions were continued informally over the lunch and coffee breaks. The event was closed by Ruth, thanking all participants for their insightful comments and encouragement, and expressing her hope that they should all meet again in due course to share the developments and findings of the WorkOD project.
Ruth Dukes Lecture – Critical Labour Law: Then and Now
As part of the Launch of the Work on Demand project, Ruth gave this Inaugural Lecture at the University of Glasgow on 18 October, 2018.
The launch of the Work on Demand project
18-19 October 2018, University of Glasgow
The launch of the Work on Demand project will be celebrated with a research event on 18 and 19 October, 2018, at the University of Glasgow.
We are delighted to announce that participants at the event will include Diamond Ashiagbor (London), Fred Block (UC Davis), Emilios Christodoulidis (Glasgow), Simon Deakin (Cambridge), Sabine Frerichs (Vienna), Karl Klare (North Eastern), Kerry Rittich (Toronto) and Wolfgang Streeck (Cologne).
Please find below the programme of the 19 October. If you would like to attend please contact the Prof. Ruth Dukes (Ruth.Dukes@glasgow.ac.uk) or Aude Cefaliello (firstname.lastname@example.org).