Professor Bronwen Morgan


Fields of Research (FoR)

Law and Society

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I joined UNSW Law School in October 2012, having taught at the University of Bristol, UK for seven years as Professor of Socio-legal Studies. Prior to Bristol, I taught at the University of Oxford for six years in association with the Centre for Socio-legal Studies, and both St Hilda’s College (1999-2001) and Wadham College (2002-2005). A very long time ago, I taught at the University of Sydney Law School. I am currently Professor of Law at...view more

I joined UNSW Law School in October 2012, having taught at the University of Bristol, UK for seven years as Professor of Socio-legal Studies. Prior to Bristol, I taught at the University of Oxford for six years in association with the Centre for Socio-legal Studies, and both St Hilda’s College (1999-2001) and Wadham College (2002-2005). A very long time ago, I taught at the University of Sydney Law School. I am currently Professor of Law at UNSW Law.

My research has long focused on transformations of the regulatory state in both national-comparative and transnational contexts, with a particular interest in the interaction between the technocratic interstices of regulation and collective commitments to democracy, conviviality and ecological sustainability. More recently, I have focused on new and diverse economies, mostly of the kind affiliated with solidarity and the creation of a commons, and the tensions between these and recent developments in sharing or platform economies. Empirically I have most recently explored energy, food, water and new kinds of lawyers.

Past projects include research on access to urban water services in comparative perspective (funded by the UK Economic and Social Sciences Research Council); two projects with Navroz Dubash of the Centre for Policy Studies in India, funded by the International Development Research Centre of Canada (on the rise of the regulatory state in the developing world and on sub-national and local dimensions of climate change policy in developing countries, particularly India and South Africa); and an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship on legal and regulatory support structures for social activists and social enterprises responding to climate change in Australia and the UK.

My ongoing work is on new legal models for social enterprise and emerging solidarity or commons-based economies, with a particular focus on platform cooperativism. I have also recently concluded two projects as a PLuS Alliance Fellow: one on urban agriculture and the other on bottom-up participatory approaches to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

My Grants

Economic and Social Research Council Subcontract, 2017, £14,000, University of Bristol, ‘Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement’

UNSW Plus Alliance Collaborative Research Seed Grant, 2017, $25,000, ‘The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: A Knowledge-to-Action Framework for Implementation and Evaluation’

UNSW Grantwriting Fellowship, 2017, $45,000, as PI for support for developing a Linkage Grant application for ‘Platform Cooperativism: An Innovative Trajectory for the Legal and Professional Implications of Emerging Platform Economies’

Low Carbon Living Collaborative Research Centre, Australia, 2014, AU$14,216, held as co-PI for ‘Community Power: Understanding the contribution of community-owned renewable energy to regional development. Top-up Scholarship for Jarra Hicks’
International Development Research Centre of Canada, 2012, US$125,000 over 2 years, held as a co-PI with Centre for Policy Research , New Delhi for ‘Climate Change as a Challenge of Multilevel Governance’

Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, 2012, Aus$817,858 over 4 years, held as PI for ‘Between Social Enterprise and Social Movement: Responses to Environmental Change at the Intersection of Rights and Regulation’

International Development Research Centre of Canada, 2010, US$70,000 over 2 years, held as a co-PI with Centre for Policy Research , New Delhi for a workshop and edited journal/special issue publication on ‘The Regulatory State of the South’.

University of Bristol Faculty of Social Sciences Seed Fund, 2009, £5,000 jointly with colleagues from Geography and Policy Studies for ‘Climate Change Policy and Community-Led Initiatives: Legal Consciousness, Emotional Affect and Regulatory Frameworks’

Economic and Social Science Research Council of Britain, 2009, £2,000 for Public Engagement Event in ESRC Festival of Social Science, March 2009 (“What’s So Social About Social Enterprise?”)

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2007, £50,000 over 3 years for a role in governance research on ‘Aquatest: A Low-Cost Water Test for Use in Developing Countries’

Economic and Social Science Research Council of Britain, 2007, £50,000 over 4 years for CASE PhD Studentship on ‘Ethical Consumerism as a Brokering Mechanism in Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Towards a Governance Framework’

National Science Foundation of USA, 2005 $83,088 over 3 years for 'The Intersection of Rights and Regulation: New Directions in Legal Scholarship' (joint with Law and Society Association, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and University of California at Santa Barbara, USA)

Economic and Social Science Research Council of Britain, 2002, £96,723.10 for ‘The Commodification of Water, Social Protest and Cosmopolitan Citizenship”, funded as part of the ESRC Research Programme in “Cultures of Consumption

UK Socio-Legal Studies Association Small Research Grants Competition, 2002, £1,000

Modern Law Review Seminar Competition, 2000, £4,500

British Academy Overseas Conference Award 2000, 2001

My Qualifications

Ph.D. (Jurisprudence and Social Policy)              University of California at Berkeley, 2000
LL.B. (Honours, Class 1)                                      University of Sydney, Australia, 1992
B.A.  (Honours, Class 1, University Medal)          University of Sydney, Australia, 1989

My Awards

2004 Hart Socio-Legal Prize for Early Career Academics (for Social Citizenship in the Shadow of Competition, above, prize awarded annually for the best book, published in the 12 months preceding)
2004 Socio-Legal Article Prize from the UK Socio-Legal Studies Association (for “The Economisation of Politics", awarded annually, open to all, for the most outstanding piece of socio-legal scholarship published in the 12 months preceding)
1996 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, UC Berkeley 
1992 John George Dalley Prize no 1A (first place in Arts/Law degree final year) 
1988 English Association Prize (best thesis, English Literature Honours Program) 1988 
1988 Coutts Scholarship (best performance and University Medal in English Literature Honours)

My Research Activities

My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Areas of supervision

Law and political economy; new economies especially solidarity, commons and sharing economies; governance of social enterprise; comparative regulatory states; climate activism; law and economic development

Currently supervising

Current and recent PhD students:

2013-2016, Anna Huggins (full-time, co-supervised with Rosemary Rayfuse, Law). Thesis topic: Evaluating Systems for Implementation Review in Multilateral Environmental Agreements: Implications for the Administration of Global Environmental Governance)

2013-2018, Jarra Hicks, (full-time, co-supervised with Susan Thompson, Built Environment). Thesis topic: The Contribution of Community-owned Renewable Energy to Regional Development and Resilience in the Face of Climate Change)

2013 ongoing, Lauren Butterly (part-time, co-supervised with Megan Davis and Sean Brennan, Law. Thesis topic: Exploring the Way Forward for Indigenous Governance of Sea-Country in Australia)

2016 ongoing, Zsofia Korosy (full-time, co-supervised with Fleur Johns, Law. Thesis topic: A Critical Analysis of the Environmental Regulation of the Pacific Ocean in International Law).

2016 ongoing, Nana Frishling (full-time, co-supervised with Justine Nolan and Dimity Kingsford-Smith, Law. Thesis topic: Business and human rights: an assessment of industry specific multistakeholder initiatives in the context of global supply chains)

2017 ongoing, Tahlia Gordon (part-time, co-supervised with Justine Rogers, Law. Thesis topic: An empirical evaluation of the impact of incorporation on the dynamics and structure of the legal services marketplace, legal professional values and the public good)

2018 ongoing, Anne Davies (part-time, professional Policy doctorate, co-supervised with Chris Walker, School of Policy Studies. Thesis topic: The governance of platform cooperatives) 

2019 ongoing, Angela Kintomaidis (full-time Scientia, co-supervised with Louise Chappell, Australia Human Rights Institute and Deborah Brennan, Social Policy Research Centre. Thesis topic: Gender, care and migration in the gig economy)

My Engagement

Where Are the Community Enterprise Lawyers?’, Pro Bono Australia, 16 November 2016'What Kind of New Economy do We Want from the Next Government'? , Pro Bono Australia, 18 May 2016

'Climate Change and the New Economy', Stir to Action, Issue 13, April 2016

'A Thousand Flowers Blooming', Stir to Action, 11 January 2016

Two visions of the ‘new economy’ collide where people and technology intersect, The Conversation, 22 September 2015

"Major Parties Show a Lack of Corporate Institutional Imagination", (with Mary Phillips and Nina Boeger),General Election 2015, PolicyBristol, 1 May 2015

Peering through the Crowdfunding Window: Sustainable Food, Sharing Economies and the Ethos of Legal Infrastructure”, August 2014

Does the Sharing Economy Need Lawyers? And if So, What Kind?”, Post-Growth Institute, 13 January 

The Rooftop Revolution – Social Activism and Social Enterprise” , (with Declan Kuch)Centre for Law Markets and Regulation, 26 May 

My Teaching

Legal Experimentalism (LAWS2384)
Lawyers, Ethics and Justice (LAWS1230)
Law and Society in the New Economy (LAWS8185)

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