Modern Law and Otherness
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Modern Law and Otherness

The Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in Comparative Legal Thought

Veronica Corcodel

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.
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Chapter 5: Post-war comparative law: concealed ambivalent apologies for liberal transformation

Veronica Corcodel


This chapter analyses some of the most important post-World War II comparative legal works. With a more seemingly politically detached tone, many of these scholars distinguish themselves from evolutionary thinking while reproducing ‘new’ unacknowledged versions of it. Assuming a putatively universal path from the traditional/underdeveloped to the modern/developed, the meaning of the ‘West’ is reproduced through a definitional exclusion of the ‘non-West’. It is argued that this stands in tension with promises of inclusion, arising from critiques of both evolutionary thinking and Western expansion. The critical potential of post-war comparative law is, however, limited by taken-for-granted notions of modernity and economic development, which facilitate contentions or assumptions of a desirable Western-like transformation of the ‘non-West’.

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