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Comparative Law in a Global Context
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  • Cited by 89
  • 2nd edition
  • Werner F. Menski, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
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Book description

Now in its second edition, this textbook presents a critical rethinking of the study of comparative law and legal theory in a globalising world, and proposes an alternative model. It highlights the inadequacies of current Western theoretical approaches in comparative law, international law, legal theory and jurisprudence, especially for studying Asian and African laws, arguing that they are too parochial and eurocentric to meet global challenges. Menski argues for combining modern natural law theories with positivist and socio-legal traditions, building an interactive, triangular concept of legal pluralism. Advocated as the fourth major approach to legal theory, this model is applied in analysing the historical and conceptual development of Hindu law, Muslim law, African laws and Chinese law.

Reviews

'This is a sprawling, engaged and engaging study in comparative jurisprudence. It provides, as the title indicates, an extended comparative study of the legal systems that function in Africa and Asia … But it seeks to do much more than that. It takes on conventional claims in contemporary Anglo-American jurisprudence on the nature, sources and scope of law, and finds the dominant accounts of the concept of law within this jurisprudence flawed and incomplete. … Menski’s core thesis is that the search for a uniform set of rules for a global order is bound to be futile because laws embody and reflect the socio-cultural particulars and experiences of functioning societies, and which, although transmitted longitudinally within the society, are nonetheless complex, fluid and dynamic. Any adequate theory of law and of a legal order therefore must, among other considerations, take account of the particularized socio-political institutions of the society, that society’s belief systems, its politics and its history. The one universal characteristic of all legal systems, he claims, is thus the inherent tendency towards 'plurality-consciousness.' … Teachers who are genuinely interested in arming their students with effective long-term tools with which to deal in a heterogeneous world, as it in fact is, has been, and will likely remain, should find this book very helpful.'

Source: Law & Politics Book Review

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