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Building a political sociology of legal professions in Africa: stakes for an open research agenda

Dezalay, Sara ORCID: 2017. Building a political sociology of legal professions in Africa: stakes for an open research agenda. Social Science Research Network 10.2139/ssrn.3012719

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Law in Africa often conjures the question of colonial legacies or the image of a legal vacuum. Counter to this deceptive representation, the aim of this presentation is to lay the stakes for the development of a political sociology of lawyers on the African continent. Built as a trend report it draws a reflexive analysis of past research and trends on legal processes and legal institutions on the continent, looking in particular at: the (dis)entanglements between scholarship and imperial and post-imperial practices on the continent; the articulation between law and politics of the state; and the relationship between political economy, political configurations and legal practices. It then lays the ground for an open research agenda focused on lawyers: It argues that lawyers offer an entry-point that highlights transformations of the state and politics, as well as the historicity of dynamics of globalization on the continent, including the colonial enterprises and their aftermaths. Tracing the social characteristics of lawyers, their professional strategies and their political mobilizations points to individual biographies that collectively connect different sites, at the local, national and international levels, in the longue durée. It underscores meanwhile that it is in these so-called African peripheries that major legal, political and economic revolutions are at play. This trend report is the extended version, in English, of the introduction to Juristes, faiseurs d’État, edited by S. Dezalay, with the contribution of G. Karekwaivanane, Politique africaine, 138, 2015.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 August 2017
Date of Acceptance: 2 August 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 05:13

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