Scholars are increasingly interested in exploring ways to strengthen the rule of law in authoritarian states—especially when deeper political reforms are not attainable. The article contributes to this discussion by revisiting the story of the emergence of the so-called socialist legality in the communist states of Eastern Europe. Using the historical record from Poland, the author demonstrates a previously unnoticed, yet pivotal, role of legal professionals in facilitating socialist legality's rise to prominence. Using the lenses of Pierre Bourdieu's theory of fields, the article chronicles the evolving dynamic between the legal profession, the authoritarian regime, and society. These observations challenge conventional explanations of the emergence of the rule of law in nondemocratic conditions.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Kisilowski on Lawyers, the Rule of Law, and "Socialist Legality"
Although the article, appearing in the Fall 2014 issue of Law & Social Inquiry, is gated, I want to note the publication online of The Middlemen: The Legal Profession, the Rule of Law, and Authoritarian Regimes, by Maciej Kisilowski, Central European University. Here is the abstract: