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``Rechtsstaat'': What is it that Swedish development assistance organisations ``export''?

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This article evaluates, from a policy of law perspective, how Swedish development assistance organisations try to ``export,'' specifically to developing countries, the legal model of Rechtsstaat. Several definitions, as well as their accompanying values, can be seen as encompassed in the use of the Western concept of Rechtsstaat, in particular the distinction between a ``formal'' and a ``material'' Rechtsstaat. In reviewing policy documents produced by several Swedish development assistance organisations, the basis for this theoretical distinction can be viewed as the product of wider ideological and political underpinnings. It also can provide an explanation for the failures in ``exporting'' Western legal concepts and categories to developing countries.

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Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of Stockholm, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail:


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