ISLSSL YOUNG LEGAL SCHOLARS’ SECTION CALL FOR PAPERS “Labour law in the mirror: categories, values, interlocutors”


Dates and times: 

May 29, 2023 - 09:00 to June 1, 2023 - 18:00


Ca’ Foscari University
Ca’ Foscari University
30123 Venice VE


The 9th International Seminar on International and Comparative Labour Law will take place in Venice, at Cà Foscari University on 29 May 2023 – 01 June 2023.

The 2023 edition of the Seminar will be dedicated to the issue of “Labor law in the mirror: categories, values, interlocutors”.

Following a period of hardship – if not a real "crisis" – labour law has re-thought? its analytic structure? and indeed its identity. It is now ready to "look at itself in the mirror", and to ponder questions about its own vision of, and place in the world. In recent years the standard paradigms have changed.

First of all, the labour law’s familiar categories have changed to such an extent that one may wonder whether the categories of labour law still exist. We have identified five categories to think about: individual and collective, public and private, autonomy and subordination, local and global, national and European. Each of these "pairs" is in some way foundational for labour law. But these conceptual pairs must now be questioned again in the light of changes that have taken place and those that are in progress. How is the category of subordination changing in relation to that of autonomy? Does it still make sense to conceive labour law as the law of employment only? In this perspective, are new categories (for example that of "personal work") emerging? Similar questions can be posed for the individual/collective distinction:once clearly separated, today much more interconnected; for public/private, which may maintain the clearest distinction; for local and global, which are increasingly intertwined due to globalization but also are seeing their areas redefined (especially due to trends towards de-globalization); for national and European, a conceptual pair of ever increasing interest thanks to the most recent evolutionary dynamics of European Union law in the social field (think, for example, of the proposal for a directive on platform work, the guidelines on collective bargaining of self-employed workers, welfare and social dialogue).

Second, while looking at itself in the mirror, labour law has also to question its own justification, its philosophical presuppositions, its reference values, and finally its own policies. The point is: does labour law need its own philosophical foundation? Or are “policies” enough? In actuality, it is precisely in political and moral philosophies that labour law – in the face of a political crisis, overwhelmed by the economy – has found a new lease of life. Let us think, for instance, about neo-republicanism, the Capabilities approach, the value paradigm of Sustainability, the environmental issues increasingly finding expression in a radical rethinking of industrial society after its failures - pollution, destruction of nature, negative health outcomes - not to mention climate change. Policies must be linked to these philosophies and values. As a matter of fact, values are not abstract categories of "ought to be", but tend to "being": that is, to be realized in the material concreteness of social relations.

Third, at this moment of reflection, labour law looks at its interlocutors with new interest, and more confidently than in the past. This does not mean isolation or abstraction, but, on the contrary, its greater participation in major changes in the economic-financial, state, international, and global spheres. First of all, the economy: labour law has suffered in recent years due to the superiority of the economic thought and the values expressed by the market and by the firm, compared to labour law’s own epistemological and regulatory framework?, to the point that labour law risked being turned into a “law of the labour market”. In actuality, things are different. Although being naturally involved in economic processes, labour law (in Europe above all) has been able to maintain its own independent dimension with respect to the colonizing tendencies of the market (even those that are markedly regulative, such as Law and Economics), unexpectedly guaranteeing its axiological attitude. The resumption of the role of the nation-state after a period of decline imposed by unregulated globalization is another factor that labour law must deal with. Labour law is local, but it has also been able to develop transnational, international, if not global offshoots and logics. The firm, the market, and international organizations are all privileged interlocutors in this interaction between labour law and economic, financial and regulatory actors, in a complex interweaving of local, global and "glocal" dimensions. Labour law must be able to synthesize such interweaving of logic and rationality, as an essential actor to
maintain the balance of advanced, complex, and polycentric societies.

The papers may focus on the following thematic areas:
- Do the "categories" of labor law still exist?
- Individual/collective
- Subordinate/autonomous
- Public/private
- Local/global,
- National/European
- Justifying labour law. Philosophies, values, policies.
- Does labor law need a philosophical justification?
- The values of labour law
- Sustainability and labour law
- Labour policies
- The environment and labour law
- Labour law and its interlocutors
- Labour law and economic sphere
- Labour law and the nation-state
- Labour law and business
- Labour Law and Market
- Labour law and international organizations

Selected papers will be presented and discussed in thematic sessions, circulated during the meeting, and also posted on the meeting website.

The publication of a book containing the selected papers, published by Kluwer, is also planned.

All Seminar’s participants are invited to take an active part in the discussion from an interdisciplinary perspective.

In particular, on 1st June a session will be dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the papers presented by the Young Legal Scholars of the ISLSSL.

This call for papers is open also to all Young Scholars who would like to take part in the International Seminar.

Of course, the interested scholars can also submit additional papers from other perspectives with other modes of analysis, but linked to the general theme of the Seminar.

Researchers and Young Scholars from countries around the world are invited to submit original papers with new and innovative results on scientific, technical and practical experience

Full papers or long abstracts (minimum 1000 words) in pdf format should be submitted online no later than April 1st, 2023.
Please note that paper selection has become increasingly competitive in recent years.
Submissions that fully describe a complete analysis are generally more likely to be accepted than long abstracts. In particular, when submitting a long abstract, please ensure that the study and results are sufficiently described to allow comparison with full paper submissions. Each person can present only one selected paper, although multiple submissions and co-authorship are allowed.

The papers and the abstract have to be sent to the following addresses:,,

The abstract’s paper will be examined by the Seminar’s organizers and if accepted the full paper (no more than 30.000 characters, including spaces, footnotes and appendix) has to be presented at the Session of June 1st 2023.

Participation to the seminar:
The Young Scholars have the option to choose to attend the whole Seminar or only the session of June 1st.

If the Young Scholars want to attend the whole Seminar, they could ask to their National Association to submit their candidature for the award of a scholarship which includes accommodation (in May 28th, out June 2st), in a university residence, in a single room with private bathroom, breakfast, meals and administration expenses.
Please notice that all Scholarship winners must write a paper for the Young Scholars’ Session of the Seminar.
Young Scholars could attend only the Session of June 1st 2023 where the paper should be presented. In this case the Seminar organizers will provide for the Young Scholars who will participate only in the session of June 1st 2023, accommodation in Colleges
or residences which are connected to the Ca’ Foscari University for the night of May 31th 2023.

For any further information please contact Prof. Stefano Bellomo (, Prof. Adalberto Perulli ( or write an email to

Abstract submission: Apr 1, 2023
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