09 Jun 2022, 09:00 to 10 Jun 2022, 18:00
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

Deadline: 31 January 2022


Responding to the Crises: Law, Alternative Economies and Activism 

No more business as usual. Legal thinking needs to catch up with the present crises. This workshop is dedicated to informed, cross-disciplinary thinking that sees the university as serving broader communities of thought, rights activism and critical/ creative endeavour. 

We would like to invite scholars, practitioners and activists to submit presentations to the Hart Workshop 2022. The presentation could fall under one of the streams outlined below, but we would also be keen to invite free-standing panels as well. 

If you would like to submit a proposal for a presentation, please send a brief abstract (300 word maximum). A panel proposal should cover a short rationale (400 words maximum) for the panel and abstracts of the presentations/ speakers within the panel (300 words per speaker).  

Presentations can be in the form of academic papers, reports from activists or other engagements with ongoing struggles. 

The objective of the workshop is to combine critical accounts of the crises with studies of transformation and the creative imagination of future possibilities. 

Stream 1: Re-Working Law’s Political Economy

This stream will reflect on the rampant inequalities, the climate emergency and extensive regulatory capture produced by the current saturation of law’s political economy by market-based thinking

The hidden hand of the market has revealed itself for what it is: a grasping fist. Global markets- as presently ‘organised’ - tend to promote the concentration of wealth  and the immiseration of people and communities around the world. Markets take the environment and the more than human as  resources for raw materials or a dumping ground for waste. The crises through which we are living challenge us to rethink how we understand an economic system that is failing, even on its own terms. 

We need new concepts and innovative approaches to focus thinking on public and collective responses. 

To this end we invite papers and proposals from those working on decolonial, feminist, queer, ecological, heterodox and critical political economy. These spheres of research  do  not sit separately from each other, encased within their own silos. Nor can they be opposed to a generalised political economy that speaks for the material world. This workshop is dedicated to showing how  the interplay of  traditions reveal that there is (and always have been) alternatives: approaches to political economy  informed by diverse strands of critique that kick against  the iron cage of orthodox economics

Indicative themes for this stream include: the failure of private health care; the rentier effects of intellectual property law; platform capitalism; international law and the climate emergency; kleptocracy, the offshore financial industry and global taxation; the prison-industrial-university complex; flexible labour markets; informality and the gig economy; neo-colonialism, global trade and extractivism; ecological critique; the metabolic rift; financial technologies and logistics; algorithms and AI.

Stream 2:Alternative Politics, Alternative Norms 

From Mondragon to mutual aid groups, experiments around the world show alternative modes of organising are possible: what are their informing norms? How can lawyers learn new ways of thinking from those who are already practicing new ways of working, living and being with each other? 

We would be keen to hear from those engaged with radical trade unionism- in particular, those working to organise non- traditional, precarious workers. 

Indicative themes for this stream  include: transnational labour solidarity and movements; the role of the ILO; the capital-labour relation; social unionism; the commons; cooperatives; grassroots organizations; migrant solidarity; mutual aid; global versus local and all points in between.

Stream 3: News from Everywhere 

We invite scholars, activists and practitioners working within the areas of anti-racist, indigenous and earth jurisprudence to reflect on what we can learn from struggles about survival, renewal and resistance to authoritarian governments, the destruction of the environment, structural poverty, brutality and inequalities, and the ongoing global health crisis.

Indicative themes for this stream  include: post-development; human rights law and the perpetuation of suffering; eco-imperialism; cultural identity and resistance; indigenous cosmologies; the green new deal; the pharmaceutical industry; solidarity and ‘more than capitalist’ economies; unconditional basic income and services; ‘territorial markets’ and agroecology; debt cancellation and reparations; more than human communities; global health justice; international aid; top-down versus bottom up and all points in between.

Stream 4: The Point is to Change it

The key theme of this workshop is to create synergies between theory and practice. We  are very keen to engage with practical lawyering, and to ask general questions about how the experiences of radical lawyers can feed into the teaching and understanding of law.  What possibilities can be created for initiatives that bring together lawyers, academics and those involved in community activism and trade union organisation?  

Indicative themes for this stream  include: the relationship between academics and activists; legal practice as resistance; activism as legal practice; citizenship education and clinical legal education.


Registration details to follow in due course. We hope to be able to make provision for fee waivers and reductions for the low waged and full time students. 

Conference Organisers: 

Professor Adam Gearey, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Fiona Macmillan, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Kojo Koram, Birkbeck, University of London
Professor Donatella Alessandrini, University of Kent 


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