Law Text Culture


Law is – and has long been – a crucial element of (post-) colonial orders. It is commonplace wisdom that the Western centre dominates the eastern periphery, not only through outright force but also via institutions and ideas. Europeans and Americans have a long history of bringing ‘civilisation,’ be it Christianity, ‘modernity’ or law, to peoples they perceive as less civilised. Despite the common practice of applying different rules to different peoples, colonisers often see the lack of uniformity of law in the colonies as a failure, if not a necessary evil, for the ‘uncivilised’ colonised native. For countries that narrowly escaped subjugation to Euro-American colonialism, such as China and Japan, the sentiment of the humiliation endured when being forced to ‘openup’ and adopt Western legal systems is still very much alive.