Edited by Jorge L. Fabra-Zamora
Chapter 6: Global historical jurisprudence: relating law and power in a global context
This chapter makes a case for the virtues of theorising law historically – in general, but especially in the global context. It is argued that theorising law historically has five virtues. It brings with it sensitivity to (1) variation and variability; (2) contingency; and (3) relationality. Further, (4) it draws on the repository of imaginaries of time in historical scholarship, and thus gains analytically by applying multiple diachronic frames to law and legal thought. And, (5) it is a normative exercise, which – via awareness of historiographical debates – can bring into view a wider range of values that are at stake in theorising law. Following an abstract presentation of these virtues, they are then illustrated by reference to theorising the relation between law and power historically. The chapter then turns to the global context, and first offers a multidimensional picture of power in global histories of power – where it is argued that power can profitably be modelled as having the following three dimensions: (1) spatial and temporal; (2) material and aesthetic; and (3) linguistic and imaginary. Having offered some resources from global history along these dimensions, the chapter then applies them to consider the relation between law and power in a global context.
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