Postcolonial Legality: Law, Power and Politics in Zambia  book cover
1st Edition

Postcolonial Legality: Law, Power and Politics in Zambia

  • Available for pre-order on March 3, 2023. Item will ship after March 24, 2023
ISBN 9781472489081
March 24, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
336 Pages

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Book Description

This book interrogates the ideology and practices of liberal constitutionalism in the Zambian postcolony. The analysis focuses on the residual political and governmental effects of an Imperial form of power, embodied in the person of the Republican President, termed here Prerogativism. Through systematic, long-term ethnographic engagement with Zambian constitutionalist activists – lawyers, judges and civic leaders – the study examines how Prerogativism has shaped the postcolonial political landscape, and limited the possibilities of constitutional liberalism. This is revealed in the ways that repeated efforts to reform the constitution have side-lined popular participation, and thus failed to address the deep divide between a small elite stratum (from which the constitutional activists are drawn) and the marginalized masses of the population. Along the way, the study documents the intimate interpenetration of political and legal action, and examines how Prerogativism delimits the political engagements of elite actors. Special attention is given to the reluctance of the legal activists to engage with popular politics, and to the conservative ethos that undermines efforts to pursue a jurisprudence of transformational constitutionalism in the findings of the Constitutional Court. The work contributes to the rising interest in applying socio-legal analysis to the statutory domain in postcolonial jurisdictions. It offers a pioneering attempt to deconstruct the amorphous and ambivalent assemblage of ideas and practices related to constitutionalism through detailed ethnographic interrogation. It will appeal to scholars, students and practitioners with an interest in theorizing challenges to political liberalism in postcolonial contexts, as well as in rethinking the methodological toolbox of socio-legal analysis.

Table of Contents

Outline of the volume
Part I: Preliminary Issues
One. Problems and paradoxes
Two. Unthinking the Postcolonial State
Three. Constitutionalism as an ethnographic object
Four. Between the Decision and the Demos.
Part II: The Genealogy of Postcolonial Power
Five. Imperial jurisprudence 1924 – 1996
Six. The Oasis Forum and the emergence of liberal constitutionalism
Part III: Law, Politics and Unfettered Power
Excursus: Redescribing postcolonial power
Seven. ‘Lawfully illegal’
Eight. In the shadows of Prerogativism
Nine. The allure of political legality
Part IV: A New Hope?
Ten. Decolonizing the Republic
Eleven. Coda
Annex A. A note on Article 79
Annex B. A chronology of constitution-making in Zambia
Annex C. A genealogy of emergency powers in Zambia
Source materials

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Jeremy Gould is Professor Emeritus of Development Studies and a Docent in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki.