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Private International Law and Global Governance$
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Horatia Muir Watt and Diego P. Fernández Arroyo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727620

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727620.001.0001

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The Governance Implications of Comparative Legal Thinking

The Governance Implications of Comparative Legal Thinking

On Henry Maine’s Jurisprudence and Liberal Imperialism

5 The Governance Implications of Comparative Legal Thinking
Private International Law and Global Governance

Veronica Corcodel

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the implications of comparative legal thinking for global governance, specifically insofar as comparative ideas have been instrumental in the justification of imperialism. Focusing on the work of Henry Maine, it examines the ways in which assumptions about identities, understood in their imperial context, shape his legal thinking. While a similar avenue has led critical legal thinkers to analyze the ways in which international law legitimated imperialism, the role of comparative law within this picture has only scarcely been uncovered. The chapter shows that Maine’s comparative thinking is fraught with a tension between promises of inclusion and exclusionary argumentative strategies legitimating liberal imperialism.

Keywords:   comparative law, post-colonial theory, legal history, critical legal theory, political economy, TWAIL, imperialism

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