Comparative environmental law and orientalism: reading beyond the 'text' of traditional knowledge protection

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This article uses traditional knowledge as a case study to address multiple discussions in the field of comparative law. First, it addresses the theoretical challenge of the role of comparative law as a critical research tool in the development of environmental law. Second, within the context of transnational legal processes, it questions the extent to which comparative law as a method can further the relationship between different levels of law making by distinct legal actors. It is timely to bring mainstream comparative law into conversation with critical perspectives from other disciplines such as postcolonial theory and poststructuralism when studying non-Western law. These issues have been firmly placed on the research agenda of comparative law scholars for quite a few years but studying these questions from the perspective of traditional knowledge brings a new outlook to these debates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-317
Number of pages14
JournalReview of European Community and International Environmental Law
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2015


  • comparative study
  • environmental legislation
  • international law
  • Orientalism
  • traditional knowledge


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