Reviewed by: Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: The Political
Secondary Theme: Policy
Anthropological studies of law have moved far beyond the rule-collecting of the early twentieth century and the dispute analysis characteristic of the mid-late twentieth century. Today, those of us interested in “things legal” are much more likely to focus on what is adjacent to law—artifacts, institutions, performativity, learning processes, the paper materials of law, its literal forms—rather than on rules, bodies of rules, and their efficacy in resolving disputes (or lack thereof). But has the pendulum swung too far? Does a contemporary anthropology of law have any space left for the content of rules, constitutional, common law, or statutory as they may be—rules that matter to the very interlocutors whose artifacts and institutions we seek to study? This roundtable brings together anthropologists with wide-ranging topical and geographic interests to explore the place of law in current legal anthropology.