Heterogeneous Logics of Competition: Competition as a Socially Organizing Phenomenon Seen through the Prism of EU Rights

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The purpose of the article is to demonstrate that in order to understand competition as a socially organizing phenomenon, we should not examine competition in isolation, but as constellations of heterogeneous logics. More precisely, the article is based on two main theoretical points: (1) Logics of competition are only realized as particular forms of social organization by virtue of interplaying with other kinds of logics, like legal logics. (2) Competition logics enjoy a peculiar status in-between constructedness and givenness; although competition depends on laws and mechanisms of socialization, we still experience competition as an expression of spontaneous human activities. On the basis of these perspectives, a study of fundamental rights of EU law, springing from the principle of ‘free movement of people’, is conducted. The first part of the empirical analysis seeks to detect the presence of a presumed logic of competition within EU law, whereas the second part focuses on particular legal logics. In this respect, the so-called ‘real link criterion’ (determining the access to transnational social rights for certain groups of unemployed people) is given special attention. What is particularly interesting about this criterion is that it introduces, into the core of competition as a socially organizing phenomenon, issues of equality, community, and belonging. In addition, it is argued, the ‘real link’ logic implies mystic and fatalistic elements. The last part of the paper reflects upon the implications of the interplay between the presumed logic of competition and the ‘real link’ logic.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)229-244
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Competition
  • Conceptual analysis
  • EU law
  • Foucault
  • Free movement of people
  • Hegel
  • Philosophy of law
  • Social rights

Cite this