Inside and Outside the Law

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Law is a discourse of absolutes, and yet it is beset by ambiguities. Legality is inevitably identified with morality, and yet there is in all legal systems a zone where the legal and the non-legal become hard to distinguish, and where it is debatable how far the moral and social standing of particular groups or individuals can be equated with their legal status. Anthropology is typically concerned with the frontiers of legality, and with groups defined by the law as marginal. Inside and Outside the Law reflects on the ambiguities of law's authority, drawing on comparative case-studies of ethnic groups within different modern states, of groups defined as marginal through their sexual behaviour, and on analyses of the ambiguities at the heart of state authority itself. Inside and Outside the Law will be of interest to political scientists and legal theorists, as well as anthropologists and sociologists concerned with popular conceptions of the state and its laws.
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Meet the Author

Olivia Harris is a Lecturer at Goldsmith's College, University of London

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Table of Contents

Notes on contributors
1 Introduction: inside and outside the law 1
2 Human rights talk and anthropological ambivalence: the particular context of universal claims 19
3 Vigilantism: order and disorder on the frontiers of the state 41
4 Trading in ambiguity: law, rights and realities in the distribution of land in northern Mozambique 56
5 The law and the market: rhetorics of exclusion and inclusion among London prostitutes 75
6 In praise of bastards: the uncertainties of mestizo identity in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Andes 98
7 Living their lives in courts: the counter-hegemonic force of the Tswana kgotla in a colonial context 125
8 A public flogging in south-western Iran: juridical rule, abolition of legality and local resistance 157
9 Which centre, whose margin? Notes towards an archaeology of US Supreme Court Case 91-948, 1993 (Church of the Lukumi vs. City of Hialeah, South Florida) 184
Index 210
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