CfP: "Social partners, power and (in)equalities in the European Union" seminar in Brussels Feb 2020

Call for papers: Social partners, power and (in)equalities in the European Union

One day research seminar in Brussels 26 February 2020


We invite scholars from various disciplines working on social partners, labour market organisations and corporatism from gender and equalities perspectives in Europe to submit abstracts to a one-day workshop organized in Université Saint-Louis-Bruxelles, Brussels, on Wednesday 26 February 2020

The workshop aims to carve space for analysis of the nexus of power, gender and other equalities, and labour market organisations, known as social partners, in Europe in times of neoliberalization and transnationalization. The objective is to make this research in this field  more visible in Europe, as well as to establish new collaborations between feminist and mainstream researchers working in this field.

Despite their crucial role in collective bargaining and significant influence in policy-making in labour-market issues, there is a lack of analyses of the power of labour market organisations from an equalities perspective. For instance, labour market organisations are gendered and racialized institutions, and the formal and informal practices of bi-and tripartite negotiations are bound to marginalize certain groups of people and certain perspectives. Moreover, they might not be the best actors in formulating effective policies to combat inequalities, for example, in relation to equal pay, parental leave, or outsourcing of female-dominated public services.

Moreover, there is strikingly little research of the shifts in corporatist practices in Europe in the context of neoliberalization, austerity and transnationalization, especially in the aftermath of the 2007 crisis. For instance, shifts in wage-setting processes, economic and social governance, and political ideologies have influenced trade unions and employer organisations’ respective possibilities and strategies to influence policy making at national and EU levels. For instance, it will be interesting to consider the specific place of gender and intersecting inequalities both in the context of the social dialogue and in these new strategies.

We welcome empirical as well as more theoretical papers that address the nexus of power, (in)equalities and corporatism in local, national and EU contexts, as well as the challenges that surround cooperation between trade-unions, employer organizations and governments/EU institutions.

The seminar is organised by the Academy of Finland funded GePoCo research project (Tampere University, Finland) and the project on Trade Unions as gender equality promoters (Uppsala University, Sweden), together with the European Institute (IEE) of the Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles.


Practical details: 

Deadline for abstracts (300 words) is on 15 October. The abstracts should be sent via email to Anna Elomäki ( and Sophie Jacquot ( 


Decisions on abstracts will be sent on 1 st November 2019.

Papers will have to be circulated to participants by 12 February 2020

We are aiming to produce a journal special issue or an edited volume on the basis of the workshop.


Organising team and contacts:

Christine Berqvist, Uppsala University, 

Anna Elomäki, Tampere University,

Josefina Erikson, Uppsala University, 

Sophie Jacquot, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles,

Johanna Kantola, Tampere University,

Clémence Ledoux, Nantes University,