Home"Consumer law", functions and tensions

Home"Consumer law", functions and tensions

"Consumer law", functions and tensions

« Droit de la consommation » : fonctions et tensions

Les Cahiers de droit journal

Les Cahiers de droit

*  *  *

Published on Wednesday, March 31, 2021


L’image du consommateur que fabriquent et diffusent différents discours des sciences humaines, du marketing et des politiques publiques, et ce, depuis déjà plusieurs années, convoque les traits d’une personne raisonnable et « responsable », dont les aspirations dépassent souvent la satisfaction de ses intérêts matériels. Épousant de plus en plus les formes d’une figure renouvelée du citoyen, cette image du consommateur met surtout en avant le pouvoir d’infléchissement du processus de production des biens que lui donnerait son choix. Au même moment, par contre, un nombre croissant de consommateurs et d’associations, que semble réunir une conscience de groupe dépoussiérée, revendiquent toujours plus de droits d’accès au marché et à ses biens, dans l’objectif de satisfaire leurs « besoins essentiels ».



The image of the consumer that has been created and disseminated by various discourses in the social science, marketing and public policy sectors for several years now is an image of a reasonable and “responsible” person, whose aspirations often go beyond satisfying his or her material interests. This image of the consumer, which is increasingly taking the form of a renewed citizen figure, emphasizes above all the power of choice to influence the process by which goods are produced. However, at the same time, a growing number of consumers and associations, which seem to be united by a new sense of group consciousness, are demanding more and more rights of access to the market and its goods, with the aim of satisfying their “basic needs.” In this context, consumers now seem to be (re)placed in a difficult societal position: while the function accorded to them by various discourses seems to be broader and more important than that to which Keynesian economic policies and their ideology of material happiness had bound them, consumer demands seem, on the contrary, to be more than ever part of this political logic. Although there is no consensus on the scope, dynamics and configuration of these two consumer figures, one thing remains: the consumer’s societal function and figure are changing.

Convinced that the law is not impervious to this conceptual and systemic change, and convinced that lawyers cannot afford not to conduct a serious analysis of its effects, we invite those who are interested in the subject to have their reflections published in a special issue of Les Cahiers de droit. Essentially, the idea is to (re)launch the study of the political functions and theoretical scope of “consumer law.”

More specifically, but without restricting the perspectives thereof, we are seeking analyzes of the contemporary and future scope of consumer law—or consumer protection—, of its political functions, of the space reserved in legal discourse for its rules and standards as well as of the role of public courts in its implementation:

  • Do the rules and standards of contemporary consumer law make it possible to protect “non-material” interests that go beyond those of individual consumers and that are usually material in nature: the environment, working conditions, economic distributivity and so forth? Do the concepts of product quality and safety, the rules governing advertising and corporate representations, the prophylactic concept of “punitive” damages and collective action, to name but a few, give consumers some power in this sense?
  • Should and can consumer law and its theory be—or be more—thought out and mobilized to protect these “non-material” interests? Conversely, should and can consumer law rules only be thought of and mobilized to protect consumers’ immediate interests? In either case, is this the role of other “special” rights or of right of “citizens” that is enshrined in the Civil Code of Québec? Or should this function simply be left outside of the law of the state, to ethics and market morality?
  • Can the law ease the tensions created by consumer discourses and demands?
  • Does the state have the duty and power, through the mediation of its courts, to enforce rights whose function goes beyond the protection of consumers’ immediate and material interests? Does this function belong to its courts? Is it more appropriate to allow the “parties” to negotiate “settlements” or should a third party be given jurisdiction to rule on the matter?

Issue editors

The scientific leadership of this thematic issue of Les Cahiers de droit shall be ensured by professors Vincent Caron, of the Civil Law Section of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, and Gabriel-Arnaud Berthold, of the Département des sciences juridiques of Université du Québec à Montréal.

Submission guidelines

The texts, 20 to 30 pages in length (one and one-half line spacing, notes included), are expected by e-mail (cahiers.de.droit@fd.ulaval.ca) by

December 1, 2021. 

Les Cahiers de droit publishes original texts in French and English. All texts submitted to the journal are subject to being anonymously evaluated by two external experts. The text presentation standards can be consulted on the journal’s website: www.cahiersdedroit.fd.ulaval.ca. For more information: cahiers.de.droit@fd.ulaval.ca.



  • Wednesday, December 01, 2021


  • Marie-Josée Lahaie
    courriel : marie-josee [dot] lahaie [at] fd [dot] ulaval [dot] ca

Information source

  • Marie-Josée Lahaie
    courriel : marie-josee [dot] lahaie [at] fd [dot] ulaval [dot] ca


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« "Consumer law", functions and tensions », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, https://doi.org/10.58079/16bp

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search