27 February 2015

ARTICLE ANNOUNCEMENT: Rule of Law Reforms and Institutional Change Processes in Eastern DR Congo: Neo-institutional Economics vs Multijuralism

By Évelyne Jean-Bouchard
From Global Jurist, Volume 15, issue 1

In development approaches, the link between rule of law institutional reforms and economic development is theorized by neo-institutional economics (NIE). From an economic analysis of law, NIE interprets the institutional variable through its ability to reduce uncertainty. The analysis of the relationship between institutions and development then leads to the study of institutional and normative changes. In this context, authors are referring to path dependence theory in order to explain the recurrent failure of rule of law reforms. However, I will argue that while NIE, by referring to path dependence theory, acknowledges that reforms take place within a complex set of particularities, I suggest that the notion of multijuralism, elaborated by the French legal anthropologist Étienne Le Roy, is more appropriated to describe this set of particularities in an African context. Using empirical data collected during an anthropological study regarding women’s rights in Democratic Republic of Congo, we will see that normative changes usually occur on the margins of State institutions. In addition, the embedded norms considered by NIE immobile through time are actually much more fluid than it seems.
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