Comparative Law and Decolonizing Critique


  • Sherally Munshi Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University



Comparative Law, Decolonizing Critique, Pierre Legrand, Critical Theory, Direito Comparado, Crítica Decolonial, Teoria Crítica



This essay asserts that comparative legal scholarship might overcome its current crisis of relevance by reorienting itself towards decolonizing critique. In a recent article, decrying the current state of the discipline, Pierre Legrand argued that comparative law has become mired in a solipsistic and outmoded style of positivism. Draying upon insights from critical theory, he argues that the discipline might render itself more relevant by engaging in a more contextualized analyses of the law and by encouraging active interpretation beyond descriptive reporting. This essay extends Legrand's argument to suggest that an emancipated, incorporative, and interdisciplinary comparative law might play an important role in decolonizing legal scholarship more broadly. Founded in a commitment to constrain an ethnocentric impulse in legal discourse, comparative law seems a natural site from which to challenge the varieties of Eurocentrism that continue to define legal scholarship and study and for exploring the colonial roots of globalized racial formations.


Este ensaio propõe que os estudos jurídicos comparados podem superar sua atual crise de relevância reorientando-se para a crítica decolonial. Em artigo recente, condenando o estado atual da disciplina, Pierre Legrand argumentou que o direito comparado está atolado em um estilo solipsista e ultrapassado do positivismo. Refletindo sobre os insights da teoria crítica, ele argumenta que a disciplina pode tornar-se mais relevante envolvendo-se em uma análise mais contextualizada da lei e incentivando a interpretação ativa para além de relatórios descritivos. Este ensaio amplia o argumento de Legrand para sugerir que um direito comparado emancipado, incorporativo e interdisciplinar pode desempenhar um papel importante na decolonização mais ampla da doutrina jurídica. Fundado em um compromisso de restringir um impulso etnocêntrico no discurso legal, o direito comparado parece um local natural a partir do qual é possível desafiar as variedades do Eurocentrismo que continuam a definir a doutrina e a produção acadêmica jurídica e a explorar as raízes coloniais das formações raciais globalizadas.

Biografia do Autor

Sherally Munshi, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University


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