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Law and Political Economy (LAW-RS-POLECO-23)


Department LAW
Course category LAW Seminar - 3 credits
Course type Course
Academic year 2023-2024
Credits 3 (EUI Law credits)
  • Niall O’Shaughnessy (PHD researcher) Sophie Alena Hölscher (PHD researcher)
Contact Law Department administration,
  Course materials

10/01/2024 14:00-16:00 @ Sala dei Cuoi

17/01/2024 15:00-17:00 @ Sala dei Cuoi

02/02/2024 9:00-11:00 @ Sala dei Cuoi

07/02/2024 17:00-19:00 @ Sala degli Stemmi, Villa Salviati


First and second year researchers as well as LLM researchers can gain 3 credits by attending one of the researcher-taught seminars in each academic year; they can also register for and attend further researcher-taught seminars without gaining credits.

Law and Political Economy (LPE) is a strand of scholarship interested in the power of law in creating economic outcomes, as well the role of economic relations in shaping law. Whilst these questions have concerned legal scholars for generations, LPE sets out specifically to challenge normalised assumptions underpinning law and policy, both nationally and internationally. As LPE is motivated by the co-constitutive role of law in economic life, the topics that come under its heading are wide-ranging and cut across many disciplines. This course will highlight this diversity and, as such, be relevant to researchers with all kinds of backgrounds and research interests.

The course is divided into five sessions. We begin with an introductory session that traces the historic origins of LPE in traditional political economy scholarship, as well as its contemporary entanglement with Marxism, critical legal studies and critical race theory. This introduction is followed by three sessions on prevalent themes in contemporary LPE scholarship, as outlined below. Participants will become familiar with the questions posed by LPE and are invited to critically reflect on these sometimes unconventional questions. A concluding session evaluates more generally the benefits of LPE’s insights and methodologies for participants’ research and research in general. This last session will feature a guest contribution of Corinne Blalock, Executive Director of the Law and Political Economy Project at Yale Law School.

1. Introduction: Origins and foundations of LPE
2. Inquiries into racialised foundations of the global economic order
3. Feminist engagements with Law and Political Economy
4. Eco-LPE: Nature as a fundamental yet neglected component of economic value production
5. Discussing the benefits of LPE for our own work: a method or a movement?

The assigned readings should be read in the order in which they are noted. We often begin with a text that ensures a general, abstract understanding of the topic of the respective session before moving to more focussed, profound, or concrete pieces. Some texts combine the two requirements.
Depending on the number of participants, we will invite the researchers to briefly introduce one reading throughout the course. These introductions should not exceed five minutes each. Additionally, we will provide a safe space for questions about each of the texts, strictly adhering to the motto that ‘stupid questions do not exist’. A certain naiveté can produce a new and curious look at familiar things and might bring to light important dimensions of a research object that have previously been overlooked. Such curiosity is a core driver of LPE and we wish to encourage it also in the participants of this course.
The formats of reading presentations and safe space for questions incentivise critical engagement with the readings in advance, and can spark livelier in-session discussions. Participants are invited, at any time, to contribute reflections on the relationship between the course material and their own research.

The course introduces researchers to a strand of scholarship that addresses well-known challenges of national and international relevance in new and innovative ways. LPE can be characterised as a field, a movement, or a methodology, as discussed in the fifth and final session of the course. While the course provides comprehensive input on the substantive material that has defined LPE, its main aim is indeed methodological: to familiarise participants with LPE’s questions and ways of asking questions. In doing so, it invites researchers to think outside the box and unlearn certain social, economic, political, or personal premises. The questions raised and sensitivities cultivated by LPE enable researchers to think about their own research in new ways, to notice and question aspects and links in their research that might have previously seemed obvious or irrelevant.
The seminar welcomes researchers from all departments who wish to learn specifically about interactions between political economy and law.

First, Second & Third Term: registration from 25 to 28 September.

Register for this course

Page last updated on 05 September 2023

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