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Law & Development

The module is designed to acquaint students with knowledge and understanding of the contemporary legal theoretical issues affecting developing countries under globalisation. It addresses, inter alia, the nature of development, globalisation, global governance, the role of law in development, and gender and human rights issues.

This module provides students with an understanding of the relationship between law and development, the history, successes and failings of the law in development movement. It examines the concept of development from Western and non-western perspectives, and analyses the impact of global political, legal and economic structures and institutions on the development process. It addresses issues directly related to the teaching and practice of law in developing countries in general and Ethiopia in particular, and directly impacts the working lives of the students.


The Aims of the Law & Development Course:

  • To provide students with knowledge and understanding of the main approaches to international development law and practice.
  • To facilitate the development of an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice; the promotion of practice informed by theory; good praxis.
  • To develop a critical ability to read theoretical materials, distil and synthesize such materials, and incorporate insights into written legal and academic documents.
  • To provide students with a range of practical legal and academic skills used by lawyers and development practitioners.
  • To develop oral and advocacy skills appropriate to legal and developmental practice.




Part 1: Images of Development

  1. Development as willed social transformation and the emergence of human co-evolution
  2. The Enlightenment idea of development as progress (‘westernisation,’ ‘modernisation’ and ‘rationalisation)
  3. Development as developmentalism (economistic imageries of development as growth)
  4. Development as Freedom
  5. Development as discourse, or how development became a dirty word
  6. Post-Development Discourse: the search for alternative grammars

Part 2: Law in Development

  1. Understanding ‘the’ law: state centrism versus pluralisms
  2. The ‘Old’ Law in Development Movement
  3. ‘New’ Law in Development movements
  4. Towards an elementary understanding of international development law

Part 3: Images and Spaces of Development

  1. The origins of the ‘G’ word, i.e. globalisation
  2. Conquest globalisation (paradigmatically colonial globalization, the G1)
  3. G2: Globalism
  4. G3: Contemporary economic globalisation (disciplinary globalisation/post-Fordist authoritarianism/digital capitalism)
  5. The spaces of development: physical spaces (sovereignty and territorial statehood) and virtual spaces (deterritorialisation, Empire, cyberspace, etc.). Borders on the ground and borders in the mind

Part 4: The Possibilities and Problems of Global Law

  1. The national outlook, globalisation and cosmopolitanisation
  2. Global law versus globalising law
  3. Global legal pluralism, lex mercatoria
  4. The decline of sovereignty
  5. International law from below
  6. Networks and global economic regulation

Part 5: Development and the Globalisation of Risk

  1. Risk in a ‘borderless’ world
  2. Nuclear power, biotechnology, climate change, pandemics and ‘southern’ diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria, dengue fever (TRIPS and the WTO)
  3. Managing risk: governance, law, international institutions and unintended consequences

Part 6: Development, the Environment and Climate Change

  1. Critical approaches: feminism, postcolonialism, development, globalisation
  2. Sustainable development, anthropocentrism, progress and economic growth
  3. The science and economics of climate change
  4. The international legal regime: Kyoto and beyond

Part 7: Postcolonialism

  1. Colonialism, neo-colonialism, postcolonialism and imperialism
  2. Orientalism
  3. Subalternity and the politics of identity; ethnicity