rule of law, weak state, Somalia, Lebanon, institutions, social consensus, justice, religion
Situated within broader contexts of literature on the origin of rule of law, this paper analyzes the rules of law in Lebanon and Somalia and offers commentary on the relationship between weak states and the rule of law. Both divided states that succumbed to brutal civil wars, Somalia was able to foster a strong rule of law whereas Lebanon was not. Rule of law, in this analysis, requires a common conception of justice and institutions that embody these values. Following Paul Kahn’s prescription for a cultural study of law, this paper analyzes the emergence of social consensus and institutional congruence. Lebanon’s top-down imposition of legality precludes justice by solidifying religious divides and prioritizing elite power over reconciliation, resulting in a culture of impunity. In comparison, Somalia’s bottom-up construction of institutions aligns with unified religious values that enable rule of law in the absence of a strong centralized government. This paper concludes bottom-up creations of justice are more efficacious than top-down impositions.
University of Puget Sound
Politics & Government
African Studies | Comparative Politics | Legal Theory | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Political Science
Ebert, Becca, "Institutional Consensus: A Comparative Analysis of Rules of Law in Lebanon and Somalia" (2015). Politics & Government Undergraduate Theses. 1.