Labour and constitutionalism-from-below: on the effective potential of legal strategy

Meakin, Jack (2020) Labour and constitutionalism-from-below: on the effective potential of legal strategy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
Download (1MB) | Preview


This thesis engages in a critical socio-legal analysis that evaluates the potential effectiveness of legal mobilisation as a tool of social struggle with a view to conceptualising the labour movement’s capacity for political participation through meaningful engagements with law. The domination of financial markets on political systems, the diminishment of labour law protections and the proliferation of undignified working practices ask difficult questions of a constitutional theory that insists on the continued importance of national legal systems, and the potential opportunity that remains in law’s resources to transform the present conditions of work and the social relation between capital and law. This thesis takes a strategic approach to constitutional theory and argues that national legal systems remain a key site of struggle for labour. Rather than cede the regulatory space of the State to market-interests, labour must engage in litigation, legislation and political actions that confront the inadequacy of existing work standards and insists on the constitutional protection of dignity, solidarity and the right to work. In order to locate the tools of such strategic engagements, we will turn to a method of constitutional analysis ‘from-below’ that is committed to uncovering the agency of social movements in constitutional practices. This will provide the space for a critical analysis of the following tenets of effective legal engagement: The articulation of recognisable legal claims, law’s institutional capacity and, the productive interaction between legal mobilisation and political objectives. This thesis presents a pragmatic conception of the potential effectiveness of labour’s engagements with law, as a means to reconstruct the link between political subjects and constitutional structures and provide important mechanisms for labour to confront its present condition.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Labour, Constitution, Constitutionalism, Strategy, Tactics, Legal mobilisation, Worker-recuperation, Recuperation, Constitutionalism-from-below, Labour movements, Social movements, Socio-Legal, Legal Theory, Institutional capacity.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Christodoulidis, Prof. Emilios and Goldoni, Dr. Marco
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Jack Meakin
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81299
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 May 2020 06:36
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2022 07:42
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81299

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year