From Worker to Self-Entrepreneur: The Transformation of Homo Economicus and the Freedom of Movement in the European Union

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This paper seeks to make a contribution to the study of personhood in EU free movement law by linking a historical and doctrinal analysis with the internal transformation of the homo economicus in economic liberalism. It is argued that a shift can be observed in the government of mobility from ‘freeing up’ the ability of the worker as a relatively passive subject tied to external economic mechanisms to the targeting of the individual him/herself as a responsible, active bearer of economic capability or ‘human capital’, whereby past socio-economic conduct and prospective economic activity serve as the thresholds for the entitlement to rights. The essence of the ‘new’ homo economicus of EU free movement law is situated at the intersection of the social and economic, serving as a rational frame for the government of the European mover on the basis of a mutual responsibility between the Union citizen and his/her host Member State towards social and economic activity, self-sufficiency and integration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-188
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Law Journal
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017


  • economic liberalism
  • eu citizenship
  • european union
  • freedom of movement
  • homo economicus
  • human capital
  • market citizen


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