2007 Symposium: Legitimacy, Legal Development & Change

Legal change is embedded in modernization, but presents an underlying chicken and egg problem. Can law be employed to shape behavior as a form of social engineering, or must social behavior change first, and legal change can only follow as form of ratification or reinforcement of changed behavior? Is the natural counterweight to the modernization concept’s implicit assumption of secular, national law as part of economic and social development a growing emphasis on non-Western alternatives, such as incorporation of sharia law into national legal systems in Islamic countries, or other alternatives elsewhere? But, paralleling issues in the West, is the claimed religious basis for law a dispute over social standards rather than about doctrine? What is legal development’s source of legitimacy, if not modernization? And how can military lawyers and civil affairs practitioners apply this knowledge to current challenges?

An Annual Symposium Series on Law and Morality