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This timely book explores the complexities of the rule of law – a well-used but perhaps less well understood term - to explain why it is so often appealed to in discussions of global politics. Ranging from capacity building and the role of the World Bank to the discourse(s) of lawyers and jurisprudential critiques, it seeks to introduce non-lawyers to the important and complex political economy of the rule of law.
In accessible terms, Christopher May argues that we can no longer merely use the idea of the rule of law without question but rather must appreciate its multifaceted and contested character if we are to begin to understand how and why it is now seen as a ‘good thing’ across the political spectrum.
He expertly examines the problems encountered by rule of law programmes in post-conflict and developing countries, as well as presenting the range of contested meanings of the term. The author also considers the possibility of establishing a pluralistic account of the rule of law and investigates the plausibility of an international rule of law.
By building on and extending debates in socio-legal studies about the social role of law, and dealing with issues largely absent from international political economy this book will be of great interest to socio – legal scholars and political economists. It also presents an overarching analysis of the manner in which politics and law interact that will be of great value to political scientists and development economists.