A counter-hegemonic rule of law?

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We are sympathetic to the research aims of the two books examined by this symposium and their desire to understand law's role in generating and contesting social injustice. We are also intrigued by the proposal in the Introduction to this symposium, notably to expand the normative reach of the rule-of-law ideal to private actors, in order to transform it into an ally of counter-hegemonic action. In our research, we share a similar research focus (development projects), methodology (case-studies) and concerns (harmful effects of development interventions) with the authors of the two books. Accordingly, in this contribution, we want to think together with the editors of the symposium-by examining the case-study of the Hidroituango project in Colombia (hereinafter, 'Hidroituango')-whether the rule of law can indeed be reimagined to limit the arbitrary exercise of power by private actors, and what benefits this might create for dealing with social injustice. However, since neither Bhatt nor Lander advances an explicit account of rule of law in their books, our critique in this piece is addressed not at them, but rather at the theorists and advocates of rule of law as a political ideal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 20 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law


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