Gender and the Labour of Law

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This paper troubles the notion of 'labour' in 'labour law' by excavating the material and philosophical roots of the distinction between paid and unpaid labour. Feminists have long argued that labour law is based on a paid work paradigm and that in the context of radical economic and social restructuring in the postindustrial era, labour law scholars must extend the focus of enquiry to encompass unpaid domestic work. This paper looks at how the separate of paid and unpaid labour arose in the context of the transition from feudalism to capitalism and how it became explained and justified in liberal political thought. The primary focus of the paper is historical although the concluding section does consider the implications for the future of labour law of moving beyond the paid work paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophical Foundations of Labour Law
EditorsHugh Collins, Gillian Lester, Virginia Mantouvalou
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780198825272
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2018


  • gender
  • law
  • labour
  • philosophical roots
  • material roots
  • paid work paradigm


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