Workshop “Constitutionalism and Political Economy. New Trajectories and Opportunities for Socio-Legal Scholarship”

Date: 22-23 of June 2022

Location: Oñati International Institute for Sociology of Law

Organizers: Ioannis Kampourakis (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Michał Stambulski (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

The purpose of the proposed workshop is to juxtapose perspectives and recent research in constitutionalism and political economy.  The last few decades have been a period of constitutionalisation and depoliticisation of regulations concerning broadly understood economics, such as free market principles and financial market operations. At the same time, other social goods such as public health or climate have been commoditized. The economic crisis of 2008 sparked renewed interest in the topic of inequality and the social foundations of economic regulation within the political economy paradigm. Moreover, research conducted in this paradigm increasingly points to the constitutive role of law for the economic sphere. It was also a period of grassroots and civic social activism and related ideas for remodeling constitutionalism from legal to political and social.

In this workshop, we want to consider what political economy can offer constitutionalism and vice versa. The law and political economy perspective seems to contain a creative critique of the dominant liberal constitutionalism and economic constitution, both global and European. And constitutionalism allows one to ask about the positive agenda and normative background of such a critique. The collision of these perspectives can thus open new ways of problematizing issues important for socio-legal scholarship as inequality, the limits of the free market, the power of corporations, and the democratization of economic relations. During the workshop more than fifteen researchers from five countries and nine universities will be engaged in fundamental discussions of these new trajectories and opportunities for socio-legal research.

For more information, please contact Dr. Michał Stambulski at 


Workshop “Populism, Non-State Actors and Legal Mobilization in Europe”

Date: 22nd of March 2023

Location: European University Institute, Florence

Organizers: Karolina Kocemba (European University Institute), Michał Stambulski (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Since the populist rise (especially in Central and Eastern European countries), scholars focusing on human rights and EU law have used the terms such as ‘rule of law crisis’, ‘human rights backlash’ or ‘democratic backsliding.’ Despite these terms primarily referring to policies and rhetoric carried out by populist governments, there are more actors than just populist parties involved in and responding to current development in Europe. On one hand, right-wing and fundamentalist organizations use legal mobilization to challenge human rights and European standards. Those organization with the support of populist governments are seeking social change through extensive usage of legal norms, discourse, or symbols. Therefore, institutions such as constitutional courts and constitutional litigation, designed to protect liberal rights and freedoms, are used to restrict them. Right-wing organizations learned how to use legal actions and tools, sometimes even more efficiently than liberal and human rights organizations that mastered these tools in the last decades. On the other hand, their effectiveness spurs the activities of liberal, rule-of-law-oriented legal (academic and judicial) organizations. Previously rather abstract categories like ‘constitution’ and ‘rule of law’ are becoming political ideas capable of mobilizing protest. In the middle of this we also have the EU institutions responding to the populist and nationalist challenge by seeking to close its democratic deficit and mobilize European political citizenship.

During the workshop, using both empirically and theoretical oriented papers, we would like to address the following questions:

  • what are the legal and political criteria that distinguish ‘correct’ and ‘unacceptable’ legal mobilization,
  • how populism facilitates legal mobilization,
  • what role non-state actors play in populist regimes and what legal tools they use,
  • what is the mobilization potential of European institutions, law, and academia,
  • what factors constitute the effectiveness of mobilization through the law.

For more information, please contact Dr. Michał Stambulski at

The workshop is supported by the Erasmus School of Law focus area Rebalancing Public & Private Interests of the Dutch Sector plan for Law

Law, AI, and Regulation (LAIR) Conference

We are pleased to announce our International Academic Conference on Law, AI, and Regulation. The conference will be held over two days in Rotterdam on 8 and 9 June 2023. A call for papers will be published in January 2023. Stay tuned!

The conference is supported by Erasmus Graduate School of Law, Dutch Sector Plan: Rebalancing Public & Private Interests and Erasmus Center of Empirical Legal Studies, and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence Digital Governance.

Past events

Conference: The law and Political Economy of Business and Human Rights. A turn to root causes.

Last 10 and 11 November, Erasmus School of Law and the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen hosted a conference on the Law and Political Economy (LPE) of Business and Human Rights (BHR).

Last 10 and 11 November, Erasmus School of Law and the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen hosted a conference on the Law and Political Economy (LPE) of Business and Human Rights (BHR).

The Public-Private Challenge: Innovating Legal and Regulatory Paradigms

Conference 22 and 23 september 2022 at BlueCity, Maasboulevard 100, Rotterdam

On 22 and 23 September 2022, Erasmus School of Law hosted a conference on theoretical and empirical contributions in the field of public and private interest, and the legal frameworks that delegate regulatory authority to private actors or seek to steer private actors towards public interests. The call for papers for this conference has closed. View full programme.

It is now a commonplace observation that the age of globalisation has been characterised by the growing power of private actors and, with it, their increasing relevance for social welfare.

Overcoming (global)crises
The climate change and health care crises, global economic inequality and continuous threats to financial stability, identity- and status-based forms of exclusion, and eroding faith in the legitimacy of liberal democracies can partially be traced to an economy shaped to facilitate profit-maximisation for the benefit of private actors.

Yet, overcoming these crises seems to be equally bound to the actions and inactions of private actors. Indeed, multiple recent regulatory initiatives point to the direction of harnessing the power of private actors to address fundamental concerns of social and environmental sustainability.

Relevant issues
The fragmented attempts to “re-embed” markets by incorporating social and environmental considerations in the rationalities of private actors lead to broader conceptual questions:

  • What is private power, and how can it be directed towards pre-set public goals?
  • Is the power of private actors an artefact of the economy that the law can only secondarily regulate? Or is the law itself a key source of private power?
  • How should we approach the distinction between public and private interests? Could private interests be conceptualised as a form of public interests? Or is the ‘public’ the antithesis of the ‘private’?
  • Can the reconstitution of public power address the challenges discussed above? If so, how can public power be reconstituted in the transnational arena? Alternatively, what role can private power play in public interest projects, such as sustainability or social transformation?
  • How can public interests be safeguarded by private actors and in public-private partnerships in the face of contemporary societal challenges such as globalisation, digitisation and privatisation and crises like those of the environment and public health?

Call for papers
Beyond these broader theoretical questions, and with the aim to answer them, the conference calls for theoretical and empirical contributions in any specific subfield of legal inquiry that deals with the public/private distinction and the legal frameworks that delegate regulatory authority to private actors or seek to steer private actors towards public interests. We are particularly, but not exclusively, interested in the private law perspective on steering private action and actors towards public interests; international and EU law, including new arrangements of transnational economic governance and human rights protection; competition law and the possibility to expand its ambit beyond the consumer welfare standard to incorporate sustainability considerations; digitalisation and the regulation and self-regulation of platforms; financial regulation and the potential of sustainable finance; or the regulation and contractual governance of global value chains and how lead firms become transnational regulators.

Submission of proposals
The deadline for the submission of proposals is now closed. For more information, please contact

University of Groningen
Faculty of Law
Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat 26
9712 EK Groningen
The Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Law
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

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