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  4. Emancipation through EU Law?




Emancipation through EU Law?



Students, Academics

Speaker: Dr Floris de Witte (London School of Economics)

The role of law in the process of European integration has recently become a subject of great interest for scholars. Increasingly, scholars are looking at the normative implications of the role of EU law; that is, to what extent it lies at the root of instances of (in)justice, democracy, authority or freedom that the EU generates. It is no longer taken for granted that EU law simply translates the preferences of the political institutions in the EU. Rather, scholars are articulating how systemic biases, institutional asymmetries, and judicial decisions have created a very particular role for law in the integration process, and how that role has significant normative implications. 

This article looks at the emancipatory potential of EU law. Approaching EU law from the perspective of emancipation exposes its ambiguities. As such, EU law is at the same time structurally committed to emancipation and deeply suspicious of the national processes that allow for emancipation. This ambivalence has led to the fragmentation of the individual – with new avenues for emancipation being highlighted and old problems of domination re-emerging. This role of EU law – essentially releasing the individual from communitarian constraints – is not without problems. On the one hand, EU law is not consistent in the way it problematizes instances of domination. On the other hand, this focus on instances of individual domination obscures the ways in which communitarian obligations serve emancipatory goals themselves. EU law, it seems, needs to come to terms with its own potential for domination.

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When and where

1.00pm - 3.00pmWednesday 24th February 2016

D104 Rhind Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1R 0JD United Kingdom