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Knowledge in Development, Law and Regulation, or How are We to Distinguish between the Economic and the Non-Economic?
Comparative Research in Law & Political Economy
  • Peer Zumbansen, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
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  • economic progress,
  • knowledge,
  • Law & Development,
  • Legal Pluralism,
  • modernity,
  • rule of law,
  • Transitional Justice

This chapter explores the nature, status and role of knowledge, expertise and epistemology in the context of law & development. Placing a particular emphasis on the way that prior perceptions of the functions of the state influence the conceptualization of development policies, the chapter formulates a critique of approaches to development programs that export ‘learned lessons’ from state change and state transformation into development contexts without paying due regard to the differences in socio-economic and legal governance structures on the ground. The chapter argues against a number of existing positions with regard to the approach to be taken vis-à-vis legal and economic assistance in developing countries, including those that too simply assume a gap between ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ conceptions of societal governance. Furthermore, the chapter critically engages with approaches that seek to import a particular, ‘Western’ conception of the rule of law to developing countries without taking into account the complex trajectory marking the evolution of political and legal governance from the colonial to post-colonial stage. Knowledge as a governance instrument becomes a crucial variable in this regard as it allows for a more adequate study of the way in which choices are made between different bodies of theories and information governing the development policy. The chapter furthermore juxtaposes law & development with the increasingly important research and policy field of transitional justice in order to highlight the overlaps between both fields.

Citation Information
Peer Zumbansen. "Knowledge in Development, Law and Regulation, or How are We to Distinguish between the Economic and the Non-Economic?" (2013)
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