For centuries the “rule of law” has been one of the proudest features of Western democracy, and the defining characteristic of what separates “us” from “them”. Yet no one knows exactly what it is--or how it emerges. Does it function as a binary? Or is it located on a spectrum? Does it develop organically, or can it be the product of conscious design? Why--despite being the West’s proudest “export”--has it been so difficult to transplant? Is it important mainly as a political ideal, or is it a necessary condition for economic development? And, finally, does it even exist--or is it just a convenient fiction? To the extent that it is easier to detect its absence rather than definitively pronounce its presence, I will use a series of case studies--particularly from the Global South and the “South in the North”--to attempt to clarify the contours of the concept and explore whether “epistemologies of the South” can cast any light on its nature.
The event will be held in the Parlour, refreshments are available from 8:15.