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A Social Dimension in European Private Law? The Call for Setting a Progressive Agenda


Fernanda Nicola


American University - Washington College of Law

Ugo Mattei


University of California Hastings College of the Law


New England Law Review, Vol. 41, pp. 1-66, 2006

Abstract:     
This Article aims to show what the political, rather than the technical stakes, are in the current debate over the harmonization of private law in Europe. Part One analyzes the main actors, the legal sources, the ideological divide, and the process animating the current debate on European private law. It sheds light on the incremental transformation of European private law in a scholarly industry. Part Two sheds light on the main obstacles and inconsistencies that jurists encounter in envisioning a Social private law. This section argues that the notion of the Social in private law scholarship as well as the idea of Social Europe is rarely a useful notion to articulate a progressive agenda for European private law. Finally, Part Three offers some modest proposals of the methodological and strategic nature on the possibilities and the limitations of setting a progressive agenda for European private law. We argue that a progressive agenda for European private law can be conceived today as a significant platform only by breaking with the current hegemonies and ideologies, as well as by unveiling the transformation of European private law into a scholarly industry.

In light of Antonio Gramsci's notion of a philosophy of praxis, we hope that this paper will spark further thoughts and self-criticism on current mainstream, progressive, and neo-liberal projects tackling the harmonization of private law in the European Union.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 66

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Date posted: February 8, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Nicola, Fernanda and Mattei, Ugo, A Social Dimension in European Private Law? The Call for Setting a Progressive Agenda. New England Law Review, Vol. 41, pp. 1-66, 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=961886

Contact Information

Fernanda Giorgia Nicola (Contact Author)
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
Ugo A. Mattei
University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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