Rule of Law or Rule by Lawyers?

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Rule of Law or Rule by Lawyers?

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Titel: Rule of Law or Rule by Lawyers?
On the Politics of Translation in Global Governance
Forfatter: Grasten, Maj Lervad
Resume: This thesis is about the rule of law in global governance and the role of legal expertise. It is about how contested concepts, vague wordings and political promises combine with international legal expertise to shape political and social realities in the making of global order(s). To this end, the aim of the thesis is to problematize and scrutinize the meaning and doings of the rule of law as a key concept in present-day international law and politics. Drawing on the case of internationally administered rule of law reforms in post-conflict Kosovo, the main problem I address in the thesis is – given the ambiguity of the very meaning of the concept – how, why and when is the meaning of the rule of law ‘fixed’, stabilized and made knowable to serve as a source of justification for the authority of international experts in ruling the domestic legal and what are the political implications thereof? To address this problem, I adopt a practice-oriented, multi-sited ethnographic approach to reconstruct the different and often conflicting meanings that are inscribed into the concept of the rule of law by various international actors, in particular international lawyers, engaged in rule of law reforms in the period from the establishment of the UN administration in 1999 until today where an European Union (EU) rule of law mission exercises extensive powers within the legal field in Kosovo. The main argument of the thesis is that the practical meaning of the rule of law in global governance is constituted through struggles over drawing the boundary between ‘law’ and ‘politics’ in the quest towards constructing and enacting law’s relative autonomy versus what is narrated and thus assessed as being social, political and moral influences. This plays out in the often mundane, everyday practices and ordinary language of international actors who are formally identified, authorized and justified to possess the professional knowledge – the particular expertise – that is required to solve the ‘problem’ of the rule of law and thus to translate it into what it should be in practice. Importantly, the separation and relationship between law and politics is not naturally given in practice and can therefore not be taken for granted. The boundary between the two realms is narrated and enacted differently by different actors for a particular purpose, in a given time and place. Indeed, inscribing meanings into the rule of law follows from enacting and inscribing a particular meaning into the boundary between law and politics. In sum, the construction of knowledge and meaning around the ‘rule of law’ unfolds in struggles over discursively fixing, momentarily stabilizing and thereby inscribing meaning into this boundary, which in turn would authorize a particular group of actors and their attending solutions to the problem over other actors and their solutions. The construction of knowledge and meaning around the ‘rule of law’, I will demonstrate in this thesis, is a result of how politics of translation play out in everyday practices of global governance.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9467
Dato: 2017-03-13

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