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Modern Law and Otherness

The Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in Comparative Legal Thought Veronica Corcodel, Assistant Professor, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Ireland
Over the last two decades or so, the field of comparative law has been increasingly interested in issues of globalisation and Eurocentrism. This book inscribes itself within the debates that have arisen on these issues and aims to provide a greater understanding of the ways in which the “non-West” is constructed in Euro-American comparative law. Approaching knowledge production from an interdisciplinary and critical perspective, the book puts emphasis on the governance implications of the field.
Extent: c 240 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: December 2019
ISBN: 978 1 78643 187 5
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Over the last two decades or so, the field of comparative law has been increasingly interested in issues of globalisation and Eurocentrism. This book inscribes itself within the debates that have arisen on these issues and aims to provide a greater understanding of the ways in which the “non-West” is constructed in Euro-American comparative law. Approaching knowledge production from an interdisciplinary and critical perspective, the book puts emphasis on the governance implications of the field.

It is argued that for more than a century an important part of comparative law has been animated in different ways by tensions between inclusion and exclusion. This dynamic is shown to operate through antinomies between the particular and the universal, between critiques and apologies of Western domination. The author approaches this as an opportunity to reflect further on the possibility of mobilizing the field’s own promises in more productive ways.

Modern Law and Otherness provides important insights for researchers interested in comparative law, critical theories and international law. Critical theorists interested in postcolonialism will also benefit from the author’s analysis.
‘This forceful analysis of the genealogy of “Western” comparative legal ideas and practices joins and strengthens the new approaches to comparative law. Veronica Corcodel traces the marginalizing definitions and exclusionary representations of the “non-West” throughout the discipline’s history from its colonial-imperialist start to the apologetic social-liberal modernization in the twentieth century and finally the post-war justifications of liberal transformation. She courageously challenges the anything but innocent hegemonic agendas of the mainstream. Connecting knowledge with power, she reveals the “dirty secrets”, that is the governance implications of comparative law. An informed, illuminating, and persuasive book.’
– Günter Frankenberg, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main/Germany

‘A deeply insightful foray through the classics of comparative law. Veronica Corcodel provides an indispensable key to understanding how the legal West has constructed the legal rest. The book meticulously exposes the uneven seams, abrupt transitions, and open contradictions characterizing the treatment of legal difference in the world by the foremost Western comparativists. Their perennial promise of greater inclusion of national legal others does not necessarily mean equal standing with the West. Rather, it is another site for both advancing and contesting Euro-American legal values.’
– Jorge L. Esquirol, Florida International University, US
Contents: Introduction 1. The Governance Implications of Comparative Law: the ‘non-West’ as Politically Significant Representations 2. Henry Maine and the Legal Foundations of Liberal Imperialism 3. Pre-War Twentieth-Century Comparative Law: Ambivalent ‘Social’ Apologies for Modernization 4. Post-War Comparative Law: Concealed Ambivalent Apologies for Liberal Transformation Conclusion Bibliography Index