CULT 460 Cultures and Politics of Law Reform Select Term:
Law reform is often seen as a technical issue that involves the transplantation of existing 'successful' models into new social contexts. Our course begins with a theoretical questioning of this common sense view of 'models' and 'prescriptions'. We will try to rethink the context of law reform as a field of social relations that enable multiple actors to construct a variety of cultural meanings and enter into power struggles with each other. Our discussions will revolve around case studies - from Turkey, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America - that involve particular proposals and actions of law reform. We will examine the actors, their interests, the cultural idiom through which they transmit those interests, and what emerges out of their contestations. In this way we will try to develop a dynamic, culturally and politically informed understanding of law reform.