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Postcolonial Legality: Law, Politics, and State Formation in Africa Since the End of the Cold War
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Postcolonial Legality: Law, Politics, and State Formation in Africa Since the End of the Cold War (Hardback)

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This book examines the interaction of law and politics in postcolonial Africa. The basic narrative emphasizes the continuities of contemporary legal practices with the jurisprudence of colonial government, grounded in what is known as `imperial liberalism'. The analysis focuses on the production of specifically postcolonial forms of legality - understood as the empirical outcomes of the state legal system. Of particular interest is the evolution of legality in the core domain of the law of the state itself, that is, the constitution and subsidiary statute pertaining to the powers of the executive. It is argued, based on a number of detailed and interlinked case studies from Zambia, that the epoch of radical deregulation in the wake of the Cold War dismantled much of the post-independence party-state apparatus and thus turned a page in the formative processes of state formation. This transformation has been reflected in, and further amplified by, a radical reworking of the ways that state legality plays out. Central to this radical shift was a profound reorientation of the legal profession as lawyers, enriched and empowered by the novel opportunities of the liberalized market economy in the nineties, quite suddenly achieved unprecedented levels of financial and political autonomy from the state. A key motif in the book relates to the ways lawyers, and to some extent judges, have responded to their new-found autonomy, and how these concomitant resources have been deployed in the realm of politics.

Jeremy Gould is a senior research fellow (docent) at the Department of Anthropology, University of Helsinki, Finland. An ethnographer by disposition, his primary fieldwork sites have been in Southern and Eastern Africa, primarily Zambia, where he has worked intermittently since 1983. Earlier books include The New Conditionality. The politics of poverty reduction strategies (London: Zed 2005) and Left behind. Rural Zambia in the Third Republic (Lusaka: Lembani 2009).

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