Book launch at Oxford University: Structural Injustice and Workers’ Rights (OUP) by Virginia Mantouvalou


Dates and times: 

May 24, 2023 - 17:00


University of Oxford
Bonavero Institute of Human Rights & Zoom
United Kingdom


The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights is delighted to host the launch of the book Structural Injustice and Workers’ Rights, by Prof. Virginia Mantouvalou.

When discussing exploitation in workplaces, governments typically deploy a rhetoric of personal responsibility. They place attention on employers who take advantage of workers, or on workers who choose non-standard, precarious work arrangements. On this account, the responsibility of the state is to address the harm inflicted by private actors.

This book questions the heavy focus on individual responsibility for precarious work and develops the concept of ‘state-mediated structural injustice at work’. We observe this when legislation that has an appearance of legitimacy has effects that are very damaging for large numbers of people, constituting a major cause of structures of exploitation at work. The book uses a series of examples, such as migrant workers, captive workers, people under welfare conditionality schemes and other precarious workers, to show how the law creates structures of injustice, making exploitation long-term, standard and routine. It also assesses these examples against human rights principles - both civil and political and economic and social rights. The aim of the book is to show that both the overall structures and parts of those structures routinely lead to workers’ exploitation that may give rise to state responsibility for human rights violations, and that there is a pressing need for reform.

With Bridget Anderson (Bristol University), Shreya Atrey (Oxford University), Samantha Currie (Liverpool University), Emily Kenway (Edinburgh University), Maayan Niezna (Oxford University) as speakers, and Manoj Dias-Abey (Bristol University) as moderator.

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