State Law and Legal Positivism

The Global Rise of a New Paradigm


Volume Editors:
This volume formulates the hypothesis of a truly global revolution that reflected a Great Divide between ancient and new legal regimes. The volume brings together several case studies of transition from an ancient to a new legal regime characterized by the positivization of the law. This was an effect of Western imperialism, but also of local elites’ conviction that positive law was an efficient instrument of governance. The contributors emphasize the depth and scale of the positivist legal revolution and explore the phenomenon whether it was the outcome of either direct colonialism (Morocco, Egypt, India) or indigenous reformism (Ottoman empire, China, Japan).

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Baudouin Dupret is Directeur de Recherche at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), based at the institute Les Afriques dans le Monde, Bordeaux (France), and guest lecturer at the University of Louvain (Belgium). He has published extensively in the field of the sociology and anthropology of law in the Muslim world. He (co-)edited numerous volumes, the most recent one being Legal Rules in Practice (with J. Colemans and M. Travers, Routledge, 2020), and single-authored several books, including Positive Law from the Muslim World (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Jean-Louis Halpérin, Ph. D. (1985), University Paris II, is currently Professor of legal history at the Ecole Normale supérieure - Paris Siences Lettres. He has published monographs and many articles on European and Asian legal history, including Five Legal Revolutions since the 17th Century. A Analysis of Global Legal History(Springer, 2014).

Contributors are: Léon Buskens, Jean-Philippe Dequen, Baudouin Dupret, Jean-Louis Halpérin, Béatrice Jaluzot, Gianluca Parolin, Avi Rubin, and Tzung-Mou Wu.
Notes on Contributors

  Baudouin Dupret

1 The Great Divide in Legal Discourse: Towards a Global Historical Ontology of the Concept of Positive Law
  Baudouin Dupret and Gianluca Parolin

2 Historical Landmarks in Mapping the Spread of Positive Law Teaching
  Jean-Louis Halpérin

3 Writing Customs: Three Episodes in the Process of Positivization of Berber Customary Law in Morocco
  Léon Buskens

4 Ambiguities and Interdependencies: The Relationship between Legal Positivization and Islamic Law in Colonial India, 1765–1909
  Jean-Philippe Dequen

5 The Positivization of Ottoman Law and the Question of Continuity
  Avi Rubin

6 How Government Jurists and Lawyering Approached the “Positivizing” of the Law in China
  Tzung-Mou Wu

7 The Meiji Era: When Japanese Law Became Positivized
  Béatrice Jaluzot

  Jean-Louis Halpérin


This book is of direct relevance for both specialists and students in the history of law, positive law, legal theory, comparative law, connected and global history, and the history of Morocco, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, India, China, and Japan. The first of its kind, it should directly interest all libraries.
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