Law's Pluralism: Getting to the Heart of the Rule of Law

Shane Chalmers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article makes a theoretical argument for reimagining “the rule of law” in light of “legal pluralism.” Building on the work of Desmond Manderson and Roderick Macdonald in particular, the article considers what it means for law’s pluralism – the differences that animate the everyday life of law – to be the very pulse of its rule. In doing so, the article seeks to open the frame that has been placed around the rule of law in two ways. On one side: to see beyond the law that is made intelligible through institutionalized modes of expression to the law that is made sensible through the richly expressive media of human culture (thus opening the frame around the “law” that is seen to rule). And on the other side: to see beyond law as a mode of governance to law in the everyday lives of subjects (thus opening the frame around how this law is seen to “rule”). The result is a reimagination of the rule of law as a broadly socio-cultural phenomenon rather than a narrowly legal-institutional arrangement. The article proceeds in two steps, beginning with law’s pluralism before turning to law’s rule.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22pp.
    JournalLaw, Culture and the Humanities
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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