Labour as a ‘Fictive Commodity’: Radically Reconceptualizing Labour Law

Judy Fudge

in The Idea of Labour Law

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693610
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729744 | DOI:
Labour as a ‘Fictive Commodity’: Radically Reconceptualizing Labour Law

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This chapter begins by recontextualizing and re-interpreting the dominant story of labour law in order to offer a different account, one that treats labour as a ‘fictive commodity’. After historicizing labour law's narrative, the chapter reviews one of the major contemporary contenders to replace it, an account that sees the function of labour law as regulating the labour market. Using this account as a jumping-off point, this chapter develops a reinvigorated conceptual and normative account of labour law, which draw's upon Amaryta Sen's conception of capabilities and Elizabeth Anderson's idea of democratic equality. The ‘new’ account of labour law proposed herein is attentive to feminist concerns about socially necessary, but unpaid, work.

Keywords: labour; work; fictive commodity; capabilities; equality; unpaid work; feminism

Chapter.  9101 words. 

Subjects: Employment and Labour Law

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