The Legalist Poem: The Rule Of Law

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THE DOMINANT PARADIGM: THE “RULE OF LAW” More than two thousand years ago Aristoteles wrote: “The rule of law is better than the rule of any other individual”. Today, there is an evident dominance of the law (or legalist) paradigm in the contemporary, described by Bourdieu as the “force of law”. Both McEvoy (2007) and Nouwen and Werner (2015) convey that this drive is the benchmark for their ultimate analysis. The law as magnetic and seductive force shapes our political relation, our way of thinking and our behaviour, ultimately articulating our social world (Geertz). Law nurtures the longing humans feel for a life driven by solid principles in a rational and orderly way. The “rule of law” stands immortally for the values of justice, objectivity and universality. Following the law is a practical and symbolic practice to demonstrate accountability and legitimacy. McEvoy (2007) defines legalism as “seductive” in the sense that its force tends to foreclose interrogatives from other perspectives that should be posited. Moreover, he points out that there is a tendency of understanding this legalist paradigm in a state-centric practice, which works through a top-down influence (McEvoy 2007). Sovereign states are the main actors who have the legitimacy to implement the law with their institutions. Truly, often enough the absence of functioning of such institutions is a synonym for lawlessness, violence and anarchy in a Hobbesian manner (“homo homini lupus”). The observation of

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