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Law’s Governing Centers: A Global Sociolegal Approach

June 2023

Featured in Polycentrism: How Governing Works Today (Oxford University Press)

When it comes to polycentric governing, how does a global sociolegal approach illuminate questions of order and disorder through attention to the roles of technique, power, and legitimacy? This chapter addresses these questions through an analysis of issues, actors, arenas, texts, and legalities—all as evidenced by a land grab in the Mubende District of Uganda. The chapter first describes key features of this land grab and then details the parameters of a global sociolegal approach. Subsequent sections undertake an excavation of techniques, power, and legitimacy. Through sociolegal analysis, I argue that relations of power—past and present—and techniques of governing are evident in this land grab. Questions of legitimacy fold into these overlapping facets of governing techniques and power, showing how susceptible notions of legitimacy can be to the workings of power, and to strategies for governing.