Law and Anthropology: A Reader (Anthologies in Social and Cultural Anthropology Series) / Edition 1

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This Reader offers a remarkable overview of the field of law and anthropology: its development, present, and potential future courses.

  • Edited by a preeminent anthropologist, lawyer, and pioneer in the study of law & anthropology.
  • Brings together classics of political thought and key contemporary work from social scientists and lawyers.
  • Explores historical issues and more contemporary ones such as illegal migration, human rights, gender discrimination, political corruption, and reparations for injustices committed by previous regimes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Sally Falk Moore’s insightful commentary pulls together a delightful combination of the classics and the cutting edge in legal anthropology. This book is both evidence of and an important event in the story of the re-emergence of legal anthropology as a powerful source of critical inquiry both in law and in anthropology.” Bryant Garth, Director, American Bar Foundation

Law and Anthropology: A Reader has been assembled with consummate intelligence and a magisterial knowledge of legal anthropology by one of its most respected scholars, Sally Falk Moore. It brings together some of the most influential, most challenging, most insightful texts in a field that, for good historical reasons, is undergoing a welcome, exciting renaissance. A must-read collection of writings.” John Comaroff, University of Chicago

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sally Falk Moore is Professor of Anthropology, Emerita, at Harvard University. She is winner of the 2005 Harry Kalven Prize, for empirical scholarship that has contributed most effectively to the advancement of research in law and society.

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Table of Contents



General Introduction.

Part I: Early Themes That Reappear in New Forms.

1 Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Others Asking What is Morally Right: Essays on Natural Law, Ideal Law, and Human Law.

The International Bill of Rights, Louis Henkin.

Culture and Rights, Jane K. Cowan, Marie Benedicte Dembour, and Richard Wilson.

2 Charles-Louis Montesquieu: Law as an Expression of a Particular Cultural Complex.

The Spirit of the Law, Charles-Louis Montesquieu.

Local Knowledge, Clifford Geertz.

3 Henry Maine: The Contrast between Archaic Law and Modern Law.

Criticism of Maine’s Theory, Norbert Rouland.

4 Lewis Henry Morgan: Evolutionist, Ethnographer, Lawyer.

The Historical Place of Property, Lewis Henry Morgan.

5 Karl Marx: The Mode of Production at the Base – Law as Part of the Superstructure.

Selected Writings, Karl Marx.

Law and Economic Organization, Katherine Newman.

6 Emile Durkheim: Collective Consciousnesses and Law.

On Law, Emile Durkheim.

Disciplinary Power and Subjection, Michael Foucault.

Law and Society in Modern India, Marc Galanter.

Modernity and Self Identity, Anthony Giddens.

7 Max Weber: The Evolution from Irrationality to Rationality in Law.

The Economy and Social Norms, Max Weber.

The Theory of Communicative Action, Jürgen Habermas.

Law and Social Science, Richard Lempert and Joseph Sanders.

Equity and Discretion in a Modern Islamic Legal System, Lawrence Rosen.

Part II: The Early Classics of Legal Ethnography: the Real Thing – Field work on Law, Rules, Cases, and Disputes.

Introduction to the Early Classics of legal Ethnology.

8 Crime and Custom in Savage Society.

Bronislaw Malinokwski.

9 A Handbook of Tswana Law and Custom.

Iassac Schapera.

The Judicial Process Among the Barotse of Northern Rhodesia.

Max Gluckman.

Justice and Judgement Among the Tiv.

Paul Bohannan.

Kapaupu Papuans and Their Law.

Leopold Pospisil.


Part III Present Thematic Approaches.

A. Struggles over Property.

13 Objects of Property and Subjects of Politics.

Rosemary Coombe.

14 Where it Hurts:Indian Material for an Ethics of Organ Transplantation.

Lawrence Cohen.

15 Disputing over Livestock in Sardinia.

Julio Ruffino.

16 Consensus and Suspicion: Judicial Reasoning and Social Change in an Indonesian Society 1960–1994.

John R. Bowen.

B. Identity and its Legal Significance.

17 Identity in Mashpee.

James Clifford.

18 Locating a Reinvigorated Kentish Identity.

Darian Smith.

19 Academic Narratives: Models and Methods in the Search for Meanings.

Anne M. O. Griffiths.

20 Human rights and Nation Building.

Richard A Wilson.

C. Creating Enforceable Rules, Inside and Outside the Formal Law.

21 Rights, Religion and Community: Approaches to Violence Aginst Women in the Context of Globalization.

Sally Engle Merry.

22 Regional Practices and the Marginalization of Law: Informal Financial Practices of Small Businesses in Taiwan" Jane Kaufman Winn.

23 Enacting Law through Social Practice: Sanctuary as a Form of Resistance.

Susan Coutin.

24 Deciding Who Gets In: Decision-Making by Immigration Inspectors.

Janet A. Gilboy.

D. The Large Scale: Pluralism, Globalism and the Negotiation of International Disputes.

25 Multiculturalism, Individualism and Human Rights: Romanticism, The Enlightenment and Lessons from Mauritius.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen.

26 Governing Economic Globalization: Global Legal Pluralism and European Union Law.

Francis Snyder.

27 Civilization and its Negotiations.

Laura Nader.

E. Law and the Future.

28 Certainties Undone: Fifty Turbulent Years of Legal Anthropology, 1949–1999.

Sally Falk Moore

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