Finding New Ways of "Doing" Socio-Legal Labor Law History in Germany and the UK: Introducing a "Minor Comparativism"

Rebecca Zahn
2020 German Law Journal  
AbstractLabor law scholars have been receptive to socio legal methods, going beyond doctrinal legal sources and looking to other disciplines including industrial relations, sociology, and history. This Article revisits the development of socio legal labor law scholarship in Germany and the UK in order to understand the different approaches within the context of two different legal and academic cultures, and considers how a comparison can provide new insights at a time when the discipline is in
more » ... state of flux. In particular, this Article focuses on how history can provide an entrée into different ways of comparing labor law and labor relations systems. It seeks to start a methodological debate on "how to do" labor law history within the context of the discipline's socio legal origins. In a final section, it uses insights from history and comparative law in order to develop a new methodology—a "minor comparativism"—which unearths the processes and influences underpinning the historical development of labor law which have hitherto escaped the legal record. Such an approach enables scholars to reassess traditional narratives—a worthwhile endeavor at a time when the future role of labor law in regulating work is under scrutiny.
doi:10.1017/glj.2020.79 fatcat:7kxasixht5bjtjr5jllbhdd224