The Impossibility of Work Law

Noah Zatz

in The Idea of Labour Law

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693610
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729744 | DOI:
The Impossibility of Work Law

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Labour law faces an impossible dilemma. Attempts to expand beyond employment but still remain within ‘the labour market’ are doomed to failure. Examples from families and prisons illustrate how productive work can be organized through diverse social institutions and often migrates among them. Nonmarket work cannot be walled off from labour law without undermining its normative coherence and practical efficacy. Neither can labour law apply uniformly to all forms of work. Work is never just work but always woven into specific, varied relationships. Labour law necessarily regulates those relationships and so must respond to this contextual variation. Purchase on this dilemma might be gained by studying how law ‘channels’ work into specific institutional forms, something done not only by traditional labour regulation but also by antidisplacement rules and y labour-process limitations on product competition. At stake throughout is whether work provides access to social citizenship, or vice versa.

Keywords: nonmarket work; employment; family labour; prison labour; displacement; channeling; citizenship

Chapter.  10559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Employment and Labour Law

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