Publications

Eleanor Kirk, ‘Legal Consciousness and the Sociology of Labour Law’, (2020) Industrial Law Journal, forthcoming

Building on recent calls to expand the field of empirical labour law research, this article seeks to delineate a special place for legal consciousness research within a new sociology of labour law. The idea that employment relations have become increasingly juridified has been used to justify important policy interventions such as reforms to the employment tribunal system, restricting the ability of workers to bring claims. Yet, we know remarkably little about work-related legal consciousness in order to assess the purported growth of ‘litigiousness’ in society and its implications for policy. This article provides an extended critique of a recent text in the field of legal consciousness studies, Nobody’s Law by Marc Hertogh. What began as a straightforward review of Hertogh’s book became a defence of an earlier, seminal work by Ewick and Silbey, which Hertogh seeks but ultimately fails to discredit. Ewick and Silbey’s critical approach stands up well against close scrutiny. The debate centres upon issues of legal hegemony, and on epistemology and ontology in the sociological study of labour law.

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Ruth Dukes and Wolfgang Streeck, ‘Labour Constitutions and Occupational Communities: Social Norms and Legal Norms at Work’, (2020) 47(4) Journal of Law and Society, forthcoming

This paper considers the interaction of legal norms and social norms in the regulation of work and working relations, observing that, with the contraction of collective bargaining, this is a matter that no longer attracts the attention that it deserves. Drawing on two concepts from sociology –  Max Weber’s ‘labour constitution’ and Seymour Martin Lipset’s ‘occupational community’ – it focuses on possibilities for the emergence, within groups of workers, of shared normative beliefs concerning ‘industrial justice’ (Selznick); for collective solidarity and agency; for the transformation of shared beliefs into legally binding norms; and for the enforcement of those norms. If labour law is currently in ‘crisis’, then a promising route out of the crisis, we argue, is for the law to recover its procedural focus, facilitating and encouraging these processes.


Ruth Dukes, ‘Regulating Gigs’, Modern Law Review 2020, Vol.83(1) 217-228

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Ruth Dukes, The Economic Sociology of Labour Law’, Journal of Law and Society 2019, Vol.46(3) 396-422

Drawing on the work of Max Weber, this article considers the utility of an approach to the study of labour law, which it calls the economic sociology of labour law (ESLL). It identifies the contract for work as the key legal institution in the field, and the primary focus of scholarly analysis. Characterizing the act of contracting for work as an example of what Weber called economic social action oriented to the legal order, it proposes that Weber’s notion of the labour constitution be used to map the context within which contracting for work takes place. And it argues that, in comparison to traditional socio‐legal approaches, ESLL has the significant advantage of allowing for account to be taken of the individual and commercial, as well as the social and legal, elements of contracting for work.

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Ruth Dukes, ‘The Labour Constitution: The Enduring Idea of Labour Law (Oxford University Press 2014)’, new paperback edition December 2017

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Ruth Dukes, ‘From the Labour Constitution to an Economic Sociology of Labour Law’,  Jurisprudence 2018, Vol.9(2) 418-423

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Ruth Dukes, ‘Introduction to Special Issue, Labour Laws and Labour Markets: New Methodologies’, Social & Legal Studies 2018, Vol.27(4) 407-413

This short piece of writing introduces a collection of papers by Judy Fudge, Diamond Ashiagbor, Simon Deakin, Shelley Marshall, Jenny Julen Votinius and Robert Knegt. It outlines the aims of the collaborative research project from which the papers resulted, referring to the event at which they were first presented, and it summarises the topic and argument of each paper in order.

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Ruth Dukes, ‘Insiders, Outsiders and Conflicts of Interest’ in Diamond Ashiagbor, (ed) Re-Imagining Labour Law for Development: Informal Work in the Global North and South. (Hart 2018)

If labour law, as Arthurs puts it, ‘takes its purpose, form, and content from the larger political economy from which it originates and operates’, what shape does or should labour law assume in response to the transformation of the political economy in countries of the global North, with the declining prevalence of the postwar model of full employment within a formal welfare state regime? Correspondingly, what is the proper role to be played by labour law and labour relations institutions in the development process within industrialising countries of the global South?

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