GRAMMAR LESSONS LEARNED: DEPENDENT CLAUSES, FALSE COGNATES, AND OTHER PROBLEMS IN RULE OF LAW PROGRAMMING

Wade Channell

Abstract


The international donor community has spent decades working with developing countries to guide, promote, and even demand reforms aimed at improving socio-economic and political performance across a wide range of standards. One of the most prominent objectives has been to instill and establish stable rule of law where it is feeble or fractured, for a variety of noble reasons. Success in these endeavors has all too often been limited or temporary; positive gains, such as improved constitutions, are often offset by implementation and enforcement failures.

Development assistance often focuses on the methods by which rule of law (ROL) is implemented. These technocratic or managerial solutions are only effective, however, if they are based on a proper understanding of the socio-political underpinnings of the work they are designed to advance.2 If the basic concept is wrong, then the mechanisms for achieving it are likely to be wrong. It is not good enough simply to do the wrong thing better. Improved delivery may require more than improved techniques; perhaps the fundamental failure is one of ideas, reflected and exacerbated, as this article will argue, in the very language of ROL reform. Some simple grammar lessons may help to reorient programming for effectiveness.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5195/lawreview.2010.156

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