Emancipation in the Idea of Labour Law

Adelle Blackett

in The Idea of Labour Law

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693610
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729744 | DOI:
Emancipation in the Idea of Labour Law

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This chapter explores three ways in which the familiar boundaries of labour law may be reimagined to extend its animating idea beyond the industrialized market economy. It looks ‘before’ industrialization at one of the most abject historical examples of human commoditization, the triangular slave trade; it finds continuity rather than radical disjuncture between slavery and ‘free’ labour. It looks ‘beyond’ the traditional market economy, to recognize the market-enabling character of care labour within the home, emphasizing paid domestic work. And it looks ‘after’ the domestic market, to consider the implications of recognizing labour to be a factor of production in intensified global trade. It emphasizes labour law’s pluralism, rooted in workers’ resistance to the commoditization of their labour power. The chapter only hints at distributive justice consequences, but acknowledges that to emphasize emancipation in the idea of labour law is to espouse a transformative vision of the field.

Keywords: commoditization; slavery; continuity; colonialism; domestic work; international trade; emancipation; resistance; pluralism; transformation

Chapter.  9604 words. 

Subjects: Employment and Labour Law

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