Questions about the nature of law, its relationship with custom, and the distinctive form of legal rules, categories, and reasoning, are placed at the centre of this introduction to the anthropology of law. It brings empirical scholarship within the scope of legal philosophy, while suggesting new avenues of inquiry for the anthropologist. Going beyond the functional and instrumental aspects of law that underlie traditional ethnographic studies of order and conflict resolution, The Anthropology of Law considers contemporary debates on human rights and new forms of property, but also delves into the rich corpus of texts and codes studied by legal historians, classicists, and orientalist scholars. Studies of the great legal systems of ancient China, India, and the Islamic world, unjustly neglected by anthropologists, are examined alongside forms of law created on their peripheries. The coutumes of medieval Europe, the codes drawn up by tribal groups in Tibet and the Yemen, village laws on both sides of the Mediterranean, and the intricate codes of saga in Iceland provide rich empirical detail for the author's analysis of the cross-cultural importance of the form of law, as text or rule, and the relative marginality of its functions as an instrument of government or foundation of social order. Carefully-selected examples shed new light upon the interrelations and distinctions between law, custom, and justice. Gradually an argument unfolds concerning the tensions between legalistic thought and argument, and the ideological or aspirational claims to embody justice, morality, and religious truth which lie at the heart of what we think of as law.
Release on 2017-05-02 | by Mark Goodale,Sally Engle Merry
A Critical Introduction
Author: Mark Goodale,Sally Engle Merry
Pubpsher: NYU Press
Category: Social Science
An introduction to the anthropology of law that explores the connections between law, politics, and technology. From legal responsibility for genocide to rectifying past injuries to indigenous people, the anthropology of law addresses some of the crucial ethical issues of our day. Over the past twenty-five years, anthropologists have studied how new forms of law have reshaped important questions of citizenship, biotechnology, and rights movements, among many others. Meanwhile, the rise of international law and transitional justice has posed new ethical and intellectual challenges to anthropologists. Anthropology and Law provides a comprehensive overview of the anthropology of law in the post-Cold War era. Mark Goodale introduces the central problems of the field and builds on the legacy of its intellectual history, while a foreword by Sally Engle Merry highlights the challenges of using the law to seek justice on an international scale. The book’s chapters cover a range of intersecting areas including language and law, history, regulation, indigenous rights, and gender. For a complete understanding of the consequential ways in which anthropologists have studied, interacted with, and critiqued, the ways and means of law, Anthropology and Law is required reading.
Drawing from Michel Foucault's understanding of power, David A. Kaden explores how relations of power are instrumental in forming law as an object of discourse in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Letters of Paul. This is a comparative project in that the author examines the role that power relations play in generating discussions of law in the first century context, and in several ethnographies from the field of the anthropology of law from Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, and colonial-era Hawaii. Discussions of law proliferate in situations where the relations of power within social groups come into contact with social forces outside the group. David A. Kaden's interdisciplinary approach reframes how law is studied in Christian Origins scholarship, especially Pauline and Matthean scholarship, by focusing on what makes discourses on law possible. For this he relies heavily on cross-cultural, ethnographic materials from legal anthropology.
In this powerful, timely study Ronald Niezen examines the processes by which cultural concepts are conceived and collective rights are defended in international law. Niezen argues that cultivating support on behalf of those experiencing human rights violations often calls for strategic representations of injustice and suffering to distant audiences. The positive impulse behind public responses to political abuse can be found in the satisfaction of justice done. But the fact that oppressed peoples and their supporters from around the world are competing for public attention is actually a profound source of global difference, stemming from differential capacities to appeal to a remote, unknown public. Niezen's discussion of the impact of public opinion on law provides fresh insights into the importance of legally-constructed identity and the changing pathways through which it is being shaped - crucial issues for all those with an interest in anthropology, politics and human rights law.
Release on 2017-01-26 | by Ronald Niezen,Maria Sapignoli
The Anthropology of Global Organizations
Author: Ronald Niezen,Maria Sapignoli
Pubpsher: Cambridge University Press
This volume assembles in one place the work of scholars who are making key contributions to a new approach to the United Nations, and to global organizations and international law more generally. Anthropology has in recent years taken on global organizations as a legitimate source of its subject matter. The research that is being done in this field gives a human face to these world-reforming institutions. Palaces of Hope demonstrates that these institutions are not monolithic or uniform, even though loosely connected by a common organizational network. They vary above all in their powers and forms of public engagement. Yet there are common threads that run through the studies included here: the actions of global institutions in practice, everyday forms of hope and their frustration, and the will to improve confronted with the realities of nationalism, neoliberalism, and the structures of international power.