Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp participated in an international seminar in Fréjus, France, which was held from Wednesday, June 3 – Friday, June 5, 2015. The conference was the final international meeting of the Grey Zone Project (Projet ZOGRIS), a working group of scholars studying the rise of insecure forms of employment in a number of countries, including Brazil, France, Mexico, and the United States. Projet ZOGRIS’ members are examining how inequality is created by forms of employment that differ from traditional, standard employment relationships. These newer forms of employment include: independent contracting and freelancing; part-time work; temporary work; short-term contracts; and leased work. The ZOGRIS kickoff conference took place in Paris in December 2011. The second meeting was held in Paris in January 2014.
The final meeting was held at the Villa Clythia, a government subsidized resort frequently used for conferences and located in Fréjus, a town in Provence on the Mediterranean. The object of the meeting was to conclude four years of study, come to a consensus on terminology and analytical approach, and discuss next steps in terms of publications. Presently a U.S. book is planned. Professor Bisom-Rapp will collaborate with two law professors on a chapter covering the way in which the state expands the grey zone – or the undermining of the standard employment relationship and its legal rights and protections – through its action and inaction. Her chapter colleagues teach at law schools in Brazil and Montreal, Canada.
“The idea is to highlight the convergences and divergences among our countries,” noted Professor Bisom-Rapp. To that end, Professor Bisom-Rapp and her co-authors are developing a standard typology for analyzing the actions of the state. “If the nature of how people work is changing,” said Professor Bisom-Rapp, “our labor and employment laws will need to account for that change. We cannot leave millions of people without necessary legal protection. We must hold our national governments accountable.”
Projet ZOGRIS is funded by a grant from the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale Recherche (ANR)), a research funding organization established in 2005 by the French government. ANR maintains a grant for studying inequality. The ZOGRIS project’s funding is in the form of an inequality grant.