The Language of Westernization in Legal Commentary
32 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016
Date Written: 2013
With the rise of globalization, American legal commentators are increasingly directing their attention at developments abroad. When commentators discuss changes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, they frequently use the terms "westernization," "westernize," and "westernized." This language elevates the status of the West, framing it as the reference point for understanding changes in other parts of the world. In this essay, I draw from the fields of law, linguistics, and post-colonial studies to illuminate problems with this common practice of discussing changes in terms of westernization. I show that this discursive framework limits understandings about changes around the world and I expose normative problems that these limitations present. In light of these concerns, I propose substituting the language of westernization with alternative terminology.
Keywords: Westernization, globalization, law and humanities, hybridity, framing
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