Opposing the Rule of Law: How Myanmar's Courts Make Law and Order? (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society)

Opposing the Rule of Law: How Myanmar's Courts Make Law and Order? (Cambridge Studies in Law and Society)

By: Nick Cheesman (author)Hardback

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The rule of law is a political ideal today endorsed and promoted worldwide. Or is it? In a significant contribution to the field, Nick Cheesman argues that Myanmar is a country in which the rule of law is 'lexically present but semantically absent'. Charting ideas and practices from British colonial rule through military dictatorship to the present day, Cheesman calls upon political and legal theory to explain how and why institutions animated by a concern for law and order oppose the rule of law. Empirically grounded in both Burmese and English sources, including criminal trial records and wide ranging official documents, Opposing the Rule of Law offers the first significant study of courts in contemporary Myanmar. It sheds new light on the politics of courts during dark times and sharply illuminates the tension between the demand for law and the imperatives of order.

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About Author

Nick Cheesman is a Research Fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University, Canberra, where he studied for a PhD. In 2013 his dissertation, on the politics of law and order in Myanmar, won the university medal, the J. G. Crawford Prize; and, the President's Prize of the Asian Studies Association of Australia. Before joining the Australian National University he worked in Hong Kong with the Asian Legal Resource Centre, a regional research and advocacy organisation. Earlier he convened a people's tribunal on militarisation in Myanmar, for a Thailand-based non-profit group. He also lived and worked in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and Myanmar for a number of years. He teaches courses in politics and security, and co-convenes the Myanmar/Burma Update conferences at the Australian National University. His work has appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, and edited books. This is his first monograph.


Introduction; 1. How law and order opposes the rule of law; 2. Ordering law in the colony; 3. Reordering law in the postcolony; 4. Subsuming law to order; 5. Embodying the law and order ideal; 6. Performing order, making money; 7. Through disorder, law and order; 8. Speaking up for the rule of law; 9. Against quietude; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.

Product Details

  • publication date: 09/03/2015
  • ISBN13: 9781107083189
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 338
  • ID: 9781107083189
  • weight: 620
  • ISBN10: 1107083184

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