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The Rule Of Law

The Common Sense of Global Politics
Christopher May, Professor of Political Economy, Lancaster University, UK
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.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: $130.00 Online: $117.00
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 978 1 78100 894 2
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Political Economy
  • Law - Academic
  • Law and Society
  • Legal Philosophy
  • Legal Theory
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
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.
‘For too long, the rule of law has been assumed as opposed to rigorously interrogated. Christopher May’s excellent study not only draws attention to this oversight, but also lucidly demonstrates how and why the rule of law has achieved the status of common sense of global politics. For anyone interested in the legalization of global politics as well as its social, political and ideological consequences, this superb book is essential reading.’
– Susanne Soederberg, Queen’s University, Canada

‘Christopher May’s The Rule of Law is clearly a must for all those interested in legal problems, international political economy, economic development, post-conflict restructuring or, more generally, the role of norms in today’s globalised world. A timely and insightful disruption of the monotony of the rule of law discourse, this book definitely calls into question our supposedly commonsensical assumptions and self-evident practices. It is, therefore, clearly a significant achievement and undoubtedly recommended.’
Ignas Kalpokas, LSE Book Review
Contents: Preface Introduction: The Rule of Law as the Common Sense of Global Politics 1. The Rule of Law as Social Imaginary, A Methodological Interlude: How I Do (Global) Political Economy 2. Defining the Rule of Law, Between Thick and Thin Conceptions 3. The Rule of Law and the Legaliization of Politics 4. Building the Rule of Law With a Political Focus 5. Building the Rule of Law With an Economic Focus 6. Global Constitutionalism. The Rule of Law by Another Name? 7. One Rule of Law or Many? Internal and External Challenges to the Rule of Law 8. Concluding Thoughts Bibliography Index