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. With China seeing lessons to be learned in Singapore, as do any number of regimes looking to replicate Singapore's pairing of prosperity and social control, this book offers a valuable and original contribution to understanding the complexities of law, language, and legitimacy in our time.
About the Author
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.
Table of Contents1. Law, illiberalism, and the Singapore case; 2. Law as discourse: theoretical and definitional parameters; 3. Punishing bodies, securing the nation: 1966 Vandalism Act; 4. Policing the press: the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act; 5. Policing lawyers and constraining citizenship: Legal Profession (Am't) Act 1986; 6. Policing religion: Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act; 7. Entrenching illiberalism: the 2009 Public Order Act; 8. Legislation, illiberalism and legitimacy.
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Authoritarian Rule of Law: Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Rajah's work exposes and analyzes the narratives that the Singaporean government uses to control its people. Through daring research into the inconvenient facts of the PAP's history and legacy, this book shows how the PAP has modified the crucial axes of democracy to prevent Singapore from having a functioning, liberal democracy. If the devil is in the details, Rajah's has not only conjured up demons but made them dance, recounting the foundational historical moments of Singapore in ways that the official memory seems to have forgotten. A study of ruthless politics, this book provides something sorely lacking in rich but authoritarian Singapore, an alternative history to the official version of events. Hopefully more works like this will be written to bring to light Singapore's recent history. Highly recommended.