Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 16, 2012 - Law
Scholars have generally assumed that authoritarianism and rule of law are mutually incompatible. Convinced that free markets and rule of law must tip authoritarian societies in a liberal direction, nearly all studies of law and contemporary politics have neglected that improbable coupling: authoritarian rule of law. Through a focus on Singapore, this book presents an analysis of authoritarian legalism. It shows how prosperity, public discourse, and a rigorous observance of legal procedure have enabled a reconfigured rule of law such that liberal form encases illiberal content. Institutions and process at the bedrock of rule of law and liberal democracy become tools to constrain dissent while augmenting discretionary political power - even as the national and international legitimacy of the state is secured. This book offers a valuable and original contribution to understanding the complexities of law, language and legitimacy in our time.
 

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Contents

1 Law Illiberalism and the Singapore Case
1
2 Law as Discourse
55
3 Punishing Bodies Securing the Nation
65
4 Policing the Press
117
5 Policing Lawyers Constraining Citizenship
161
6 Policing Religion
219
7 Entrenching Illiberalism
259
8 Legislation Illiberalism and Legitimacy
267
Bibliography
299
Index
333
Books in the series
345
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About the author (2012)

Jothie Rajah is Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, Chicago. She obtained her Ph.D. at the Melbourne Law School, Australia, where she was awarded the 2010 Harold Luntz Graduate Research Thesis Prize for achieving an overall level of excellence. She is the author of a number of articles on state management of ideological contestation through law. She has taught at the Melbourne Law School, the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Education, Singapore. Her current research focuses on global discourses on the rule of law and colonial constructions of Hindu law in the Straits Settlements.

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