A sense of self-suspicion : global legal pluralism and the claim to legal authority
Faculty of Law
Ethics and Global Politics
, p. 1-20
University of Antwerp
Legal pluralism has become common currency in many contemporary debates on law and globalization. Its main claim is that a form of global legal pluralism represents both the most accurate description of law in times of globalization and the best normative option. On the descriptive level, global legal pluralism is considered more reliable than state-based accounts. On the normative level, global legal pluralism is understood as a possibility to open up the legal realm to previously unheard voices. This article assesses these claims against the background of classic legal-pluralist scholarship. After reconstructing the emergence of global legal pluralism and then examining its epistemic and normative versions, the last two sections identify the shortcoming of this approach by underlining the absence of what the authors call 'a sense of self-suspicion' in drawing the map of legalities in the global sphere. The main argument put forward is that global legal pluralism is oblivious of a few key insights offered by the founding fathers of classic legal pluralism.