Law, Founder of the IAS-Nantes and President of the Strategic Committee, Emeritus Fellow

Fellowship : October 2018 to June 2019 (Previous fellowships: October 2017 to June 2018, October 2016 to June 2017, October 2015 to June 2016, October 2014 to June 2015 and October 2013 to June 2014).

Discipline(s) : Law

Area(s) of expertise : Social law

Pays : France


Alain SUPIOT has published or co-published 18 books and contributed to 37 anthologies. He is the author of 66 articles in French and 66 in other languages. His work is mainly focused on two complementary fields: social law and legal theory.

His research in social law has shown that legal mechanisms based on the paradigm of employment inherited from the industrial era could not fulfill its intended purpose in terms of reducing unemployment and improving living conditions. This observation led him to undertake a comprehensive legal overview of labour, taking into account various forms of non-salaried work. On this basis in the 90s he studied the ambivalence of new forms of business organization, which on one hand emphasized the dehumanization of work and on the other giving rise to the need for a new professional status that is indexed on the long term throughout people’s lifetimes, rather than the short term of exchanges.

In the field of legal theory, his work approaches the perspectives opened up by André Leroi-Gourhan in the field of anthropology and Pierre Legendre in that of legal history. Considering law as a technique of forbidding, which comes between people both in their relationship with each other and to the world at large, a common sense that transcends and demands compliance, his book Homo juridicus highlights the anthropological function of law in secularized societies.

His current research on the mutations of the welfare state in the context of globalization draws the consequences of this regime of dogmaticity so peculiar to the West. On the one hand they shed light on the process of disinstitution generated by the cybernetic imaginary, a distinctive feature of Western modernity. On the other hand, they explore the paths of globalization based on the diversity of civilizations, which may enable us to escape from the current impasse of a globalization conceived in terms of the standardization of the world under the sway of an all-embracing Market.


Doctor in Law (Bordeaux, 1979), Associate Professor of Law Schools (1980), member of the Institut Universitaire de France (2001; Chair Dogmatique juridique et lien social), Doctor honoris causa of the University of Louvain, Alain SUPIOT was successively professor at the University of Poitiers and Nantes, before being elected to the Collège de France in 2012 (Chair ‘The Social State and globalization: a legal analysis of forms of solidarity).

In 1995 he founded the Maison des sciences de l’Homme Ange Guépin (, which promotes an interdisciplinary approach to the transformations of social ties. He presided from 1998 to 2001 the National Council for the development of human and social sciences (see: Pour une politique des sciences de l’Homme et de la société. Paris: PUF-Quadrige, 2001). He founded and directed from 2008 to 2013 the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study, where he is now an Emeritus Fellow and President of the Strategic Committee. His career has been marked by several years of research abroad (at the Institute of Industrial Relations at Berkeley in 1981, at the European University Institute in Florence in 1989/90, at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 1997/98).

His research focuses on labor law and social security and on the analysis of the dogmatic foundations of social ties (see: The spirit of Philadelphia. Social justice vs. the Total Market. Verso, 2012).

Selective Bibliography

Published in English (among others)

SUPIOT, Alain. The Spirit of Philadelphia : Social Justice vs the Total Market, translated by Saskia Brown, London-New York, Verso, 2012, 150 p.

SUPIOT, Alain. Homo juridicus: on the anthropological function of the law, translated by Saskia Brown, London-New York, Verso, 2007, 246 p.

 SUPIOT, Alain. Beyond Employment: Changes in Work and the Future of Labour Law in Europe: a report prepared for the European Commission. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, 264p.


Other publications in French (among others)

SUPIOT, Alain Les gardiens des droits sociaux en Europe, Direction et introduction du numéro spécial de la Semaine Sociale Lamy, 2016, n° 1746, 100 p. Actes du séminaire organisé à la Fondation Hugot du Collège de France le 6 février 2015.

SUPIOT, Alain. « Laïcité », in Christine Lazerges (dir.) Les grands avis de la Commission nationale représentative des droits de l’homme, Paris, Dalloz, 2016, pp. 292-307.

SUPIOT, Alain. Au-delà de l’emploi. Transformations du travail et devenir du droit du travail en Europe, Rapport pour la Commission Européenne (dir.), éd. augmentée, Paris, Flammarion, 2016.

SUPIOT, Alain. Prendre la responsabilité au sérieux .en collaboration avec Mireille Delmas-Marty (dir.),Presses universitaires de France, 2015.

SUPIOT, Alain. De l’éminente dignité des pauvres, Mille et une nuits, 2015

SUPIOT, Alain. La solidarité. Enquête sur un principe juridique, Odile Jacob, 2015

SUPIOT, Alain. La gouvernance par les nombres, Fayard, 2015

SUPIOT, Alain. L’entreprise dans un monde sans frontières. Perspectives juridiques et économiques, Dalloz, 2015

SUPIOT, Alain. La solidarité. Enquête sur un principe juridique, Odile Jacob, 2015 (sortie prévue en avril 2015)

SUPIOT, Alain.Le droit du travail, Paris, PUF, coll. Que-sais-je ?, 1ère éd. janv. 2004, 127 p. ; 2e éd. nov. 2004 ; 3e éd. déc. 2006 ; 4e éd. oct. 2009 ; 5e éd. avr. 2011 (trad.. en 3 langues).

SUPIOT, Alain. Droit du travail. en collab. avec G. Lyon-Caen et J. Pélissier, Paris, Dalloz, coll. Précis, 17e éd. 1994, 919 p. ; 18e éd. 1996, 1007 p. ; 19e éd. 1998, 1171 p. ; en collab. avec A. Jeammaud et J. Pélissier : 20e éd. 2000, 1219 p. ; 21e éd. 2002, 1321 p. ; 22e éd. 2004, 1353 p. ; 23e éd. 2006, 1387 p. ; 24e éd. 2008, 1516 p.

SUPIOT, Alain. Critique du droit du travail, Paris, PUF, 1994, coll. « Les voies du droit », 280 p. ; nouvelle éd., augmentée, Paris, PUF, 2002, coll. « Quadrige », XLIV+280 p. (trad. en 2 langues)

SUPIOT, Alain. Les juridictions du travail, tome 9 du Traité de droit du travail publié sous la direction de G. H. Camerlynck, Paris, Dalloz, 1987, 768 p.

"La gouvernance par les nombres", Interview with Alain Supiot, a film by Philippe Petit and direceted by Cyril Bérard

The full bibliography can be downloaded here.