Thursday, February 8, 2024

Shane Chalmers on The Rule of Law and International Development (OUP book chapter)

"The Rule of Law and International Development"
Shane Chalmers
in Ruth Buchanan (ed.), Luis Eslava (ed.), Sundhya Pahuja (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of International Law and Development (Oxford University Press 2023) Chapter 5
Published online: December 2023

Abstract: The aim of this chapter is twofold: to provide an overview of the international development project’s ‘rule of law’ agenda, and to do so in a way that shows its mythological character. In 1992 Peter Fitzpatrick published The Mythology of Modern Law, a work that exposed the constitutive relation between Europe’s racialised imperialism and its conception of modern law. In the three decades since, a renewed field of law and development has grown, this time in the name of ‘the rule of law’. This chapter shows how the mythology of modern law endures in this field of rule-of-law development. The analysis shows how the mythology of modern law, in its racialised imperial form, is integral to the work of international rule-of-law promotion. One consequence is the denial of ‘local’ law by a rule of law that obtains its authority by purporting to be responsive to legal pluralism.

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