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From the Publisher
Winner of the 2002 Williard Hurst Prize in Legal History
How does law transform family, sexuality, and community in the fractured social world characteristic of the colonizing process? The law was a cornerstone of the so-called civilizing process of nineteenth-century colonialism. It was simultaneously a means of transformation and a marker of the seductive idea of civilization. Sally Engle Merry reveals how, in Hawai'i, indigenous Hawaiian law was displaced by a transplanted Anglo-American law as global movements of capitalism, Christianity, and imperialism swept across the islands. The new law brought novel systems of courts, prisons, and conceptions of discipline and dramatically changed the marriage patterns, work lives, and sexual conduct of the indigenous people of Hawai'i.