Video - Lecture by Marija Bartl


In this lecture, Marija Bartl presents the paper ‘Socio-Economic Imaginaries in European Private Law’ (forthcoming in P. Kjaer, The Law of Political Economy: Transformations of the Function of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2019)), exploring how ideas about economy and market shape the way in which we think about the law, and private law in particular, as well as how ideas about law condition our understanding of what the (internal) market is and what it ‘needs’. Bartl argues that legal and economic discourses, whatever their participants would like to assume, share a set of fundamental pre-understandings as to the relation between the subject as situated within the legal-political order and the social whole – co-instituting in this way a particular kind of society in different historical periods.   These shared pre-understandings ensure that the law and legal discourse tend to support, rather than subvert, the tenets (if not particulars) of socio-economic organization. However, by unpacking this entanglement we unearth a potentially subversive role for the law: to the extent that the law and legal discourse unsettle the shared pre-understandings as to the relation between the subject and the social whole, or, in different words, offer different imaginaries framing the role of the law in society, a far broader shift in social imaginary may ensue. This paper serves as a prelude to broader book project that Bartl is working on, namely, ‘Legal Imaginaries and Collective Self-Determination’.

Bartl is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam.  Her research agenda revolves around the relationship between law and social change.  In her NWO funded VENI project, Bartl explores the co-constitutive relationship between institutions, laws and expert knowledge in the re-shaping of global political economy. Other strand of her work relates to the possible contribution of law, and private law in particular, to socio-ecological transformation.

The lecture is part of the Lecture Series Rethinking Law, Democracy and Capitalism organized jointly by Jan Komárek (iCourts) and Niklas Olsen (CEMES).