1st Edition

Legal Consciousness and the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Societies Emergent Hybrid Legality in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

By Holly Dunn Copyright 2023
    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Continue Shopping

    This book considers how legal reforms and awareness raising associated with building the rule of law have engaged the popular legal consciousness, producing contradictions that have in turn shaped the nature of the resultant legality.

    How are popular legal-justice beliefs and practices transformed when legal reforms encounter local contexts and cultures? For over a decade, scholars have engaged with the argument that legal reform through rule of law building is the answer to the various ills of countries transitioning from war to peace or authoritarianism to democracy. Yet, scholars have also repeatedly critiqued rule of law building projects: The rule of law, in theory and in practice, is a product of Western liberal thought and development and provides limited space for local culture, norms, and practices. This tension has been playing out in multiple locations, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo for about two decades. This book examines how rule of law reforms in the Democratic Republic of Congo shape local understandings and practices of law and justice. Instead of focusing on their so-called successes and failures, it explores popular legal consciousness – how people think about, perceive, and engage with the law – to draw broader conclusions about the practical, everyday outcomes of attempts to build the rule of law.

    This book will appeal to comparativists, Africanists, and socio-legal scholars who study post-conflict reconstruction, rule of law building, legal consciousness, access to justice and legal pluralism, as well as those with practical interests in these areas.

    1. Problems with the Rule of Law and Research in the Eastern DRC 2. Legal Consciousness and the Construction of Emergent Hybrid Legality 3. Fraught Fieldwork: Embodied Experiences and Imagined Spaces 4. Top-Down Approaches to Shaping Legal Consciousness 5. Legal Consciousness in Context: Statutory Rape and Early Marriage 6. Popular Justice and Witchcraft: The Violent Side of Emergent Hybrid Legality 7. The Rule of Law Revisited: Lessons from Emergent Hybrid Legality in the DRC


    Holly Dunn is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, University of South Florida, USA.