Journal article

The Mythology of International Rule-of-Law Promotion

Shane Chalmers

Law & Social Inquiry | Cambridge University Press (CUP) | Published : 2019


In 1992 Peter Fitzpatrick published The Mythology of Modern Law, a work that exposed the constitutive relation between Europe's racialized imperialism and its conception of modern law. In the three decades since, a renewed field of law and development has grown, this time in the name of the rule of law. This Article shows how the mythology of modern law endures in this field of rule-of-law development. To do this, Part I draws out the main threads from Mythology. These are then woven through the Article, beginning with the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index®, before turning to the United Nations' rule-of-law assistance, and ending with the World Bank's 2017 World Development Report. T..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This Article was initially written for a symposium on the work of Peter Fitzpatrick, The Mythology of Modern Law: at 25 Years, held at Melbourne Law School, Australia, May 12, 2017, organized by Kathleen Birrell, Ben Golder, Fleur Johns, Richard Joyce, and Sundhya Pahuja, with the support of the Melbourne Law School's Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH), Kathleen Birrell's McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Birkbeck Law School. I express my thanks and gratitude to the organizers for the invitation to participate and to all of the participants for motivating and helping to refine the analysis. I also extend a warm thanks to the anonymous reviewers. I was able to write the Article with the support of a University of Melbourne McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship.