Skip to main content
×
×
Home

“The Duty to Act Fairly”: Ethics, Legal Anthropology, and Labor Justice in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana

  • Pnina Werbner (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This paper analyses the significance of the Botswana High Court and Court of Appeal judgments of a case in which the Manual Worker Union, a blue-collar public sector union, challenged the Botswana Government to reinstate dismissed workers with all their past benefits. I examine the role of public ethics and morality in Botswana as reflected in key notions used by High Court judges, such as “the duty to act fairly” and “legitimate expectations,” and argue that legal anthropologists have neglected such ideas, despite their having become a bedrock of contemporary judicial reasoning. While anthropology has shown a renewed interest in ethics, issues of public ethics and morality remain relatively unexplored in contemporary legal anthropological debates. One has to go back to the work of Max Gluckman on reasonableness in judicial decision-making among the Barotse to find foundational anthropological insights into the morality and ethics of law in non-Western societies. In the legally plural context of Botswana, notions of equity and fairness, this paper argues, “permeate” the legal landscape.

Copyright
Corresponding author
P.Werbner@keele.ac.uk
References
Hide All
Bohannan Paul. 1957. Justice and Judgement among the Tiv. Oxford: The International African Institute for Oxford University Press.
Bohannan Paul. 1969. Ethnography and Comparison in Legal Anthropology. In Nader Laura, ed., Law in Culture and Society. London: University of California Press.
Botswana Court of Appeal. 1995. National Amalgamated Local & Central Government and Parastatal Manual Workers Union, Appellant, versus Attorney General, Respondent. Civil Appeal No. 26/93 of High Court Civil Case No. 1604/91. Delivered 19 Jan. [The month is missing in the document's text.]
Botswana Government. 1990. The Revised National Policy on Income, Employment, Prices and Profits. Government Paper No. 1, Sept. Gaborone: Government Printer.
Botswana High Court. 1991. National Amalgamated Local & Central Government and Parastatal Manual Workers Union, Plaintiff, versus Attorney General, Defendant. Civil Case No. 1604 of 1991.
Cardozo B. J. 1928. Nature of the Judicial Process. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Carolan Eoin. 2009. The New Separation of Powers: A Theory of the Modern State. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chwaane Thato. 2005. Judge Leaves as Court of Appeal Session Ends. Mmegi Online, Archives, 1 Feb. At: http://allafrica.com/stories/200502010663.html (accessed 17 Jan. 2014).
Comaroff Jean and Comaroff John. 2007. Law and Disorder in the Postcolony. Social Anthropology 15, 2: 133–52.
Comaroff John L. and Roberts Simon. 1981. Rules and Processes: The Cultural Logic of Dispute in an African Context. Chicago: the University of Chicago Press.
Conley John M. and O'Barr William M.. 2004. A Classic in Spite of Itself: The Cheyenne Way and the Case Method in Legal Anthropology. Law & Inquiry 29, 1: 179217.
Cooper Frederick. 1996. Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dagan Hanoch. 2005. The Realist Conception of Law. Tel Aviv University Law Faculty Papers, No. 21.
Dow Unity, ed. 1995. The Citizenship Case: The Attorney General of the Republic of Botswana v. Unity Dow. Gaborone: Lentswe la Lesedi.
Englund Harri. 2006. Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Epstein A. L. 1973. The Reasonable Man Revisited: Some Problems in the Anthropology of Law. Law & Society Review 7, 4: 643–66.
Ernst Daniel R. 1993. The Critical Tradition in the Writing of American Legal History. Yale Law Journal 102, 4: 1019–76.
Ernst Daniel R. 1995. Lawyers against Labor: From Individual Rights to Corporate Liberalism. Champagne: University of Illinois Press.
Frank Jerome. 1930. Law and the Modern Mind. New York: Coward-McCann.
Garbers Christoph. 2004. Labor Law. In van der Merswe C. G. and du Plessis Jacques E., eds., Introduction to the Law of South Africa. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 399429.
Geertz Clifford. 1983. Local Knowledge: Fact and Law in Comparative Perspective. In Local Knowledge. New York: Fontana Press, 167234.
Gluckman Max. 1963. The Reasonable Man in Barotse Law. In Order and Rebellion in Tribal Africa. London: Cohen and West, 178206.
Gluckman Max. 1967 [1955]. The Judicial Process among the Barotse of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). Manchester: Manchester University Press for African Studies University of Zambia.
Gluckman Max. 1973. Limitations of the Case-Method in the Study of Tribal Law. Law & Society Review 7, 4: 611–42.
Griffiths Anne. 1997. In the Shadow of Marriage: Gender and Justice in an African Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Horwitz Morton J. 1992. The Transformation of American Law 1870–1960: The Crisis of Legal Orthodoxy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hunt Alan. 1986. A Theory of Critical Legal Studies. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 6, 1: 145.
Kaplow Louis. 1992. Rules versus Standards: An Economic Analysis. Duke Law Journal 42, 3: 557629.
Kiragu Kithinji, Mukandala Rwekaza, and Morin Denyse. 2004. Reforming Pay Policy: Techniques, Sequencing, and Politics. World Bank Report on the Public Sector, 109–48. At: http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/civilservice/ACSRCourse2007/Session%204/BSC_ch04.pdf (accessed 15 Apr. 2011).
Klare Karl E. 1982. Critical Theory and Labor Relations Law. In Kairys David, ed., The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique. New York: Basic Books.
Korobkin Russell B. 2000. Behavioral Analysis versus Legal Form: Rules vs. Standards Revisited. Oregon Law Review 79: 2360.
Kuper Adam. 1970. The Kgalagari and the Jural Consequences of Marriage. Man n.s. 5: 466–82.
Laidlaw James. 2002. For an Anthropology of Ethics and Freedom. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 8: 311–32.
Lambek Michael. 2003. The Weight of the Past: Living with History in Mahajanga. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mahmood Saba. 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Malinowski Bronislaw. 1926. Crime and Custom in Savage Society. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Maurer Bill. 2005. Due Diligence and “Reasonable Man,” Offshore. Cultural Anthropology 20, 4: 474505.
Mogalakwe Monageng. 1997. The State and Organised Labor in Botswana: Liberal Democracy and Emergent Capitalism. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Molaudi Samuel K. 1992. Chronological Events of 154% Wage Increase Demand. National Amalgamated Local and Central Government & Parastatals Manual Workers Union, Gaborone, Jan.
Molosiwa Phutego Phutego. 2007. Re Neeland Ditsa Rona!—the Great 1991 Manual Workers Union Strike. In Makgala Christian John, ed., History of the Botswana Manual Workers Union: A Story of Courageous Struggle for Democratic and Economic Advancement in Southern Africa. Botswana: Manual Workers Union, 7298.
Moore Sally Falk. 1978. Law as Process: An Anthropological Approach. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Moore Sally Falk. 2001. Certainties Undone: Fifty Turbulent Years of Legal Anthropology, 1949–1999. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7, 1: 95116.
Otlhogile Bojosi. n.d. (ca. 1994). A History of the Higher Courts of Botswana 1912–1990. Gaborone: Mmegi Publishing House.
Prins Gwyn. 1980. The Hidden Hippopotamus: Reappraisal in African History, the Early Colonial Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Riggs Robert E. 1988. Legitimate Expectation and Procedural Fairness in English Law. American Journal of Comparative Law 36: 395436.
Robbins Joel. 2013. Beyond the Suffering Subject: Toward an Anthropology of the Good. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 19: 447–62.
Saugestad Sidsel. 2011. Impact of International Mechanisms on Indigenous Rights in Botswana. International Journal of Human Rights 15, 1: 3761.
Schapera Isaac. 1955 [1938]. A Handbook of Tswana Law and Custom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schapera Isaac. 1956. Government and Politics in Tribal Society. London: Watts.
Schapera Isaac. 1970. Tribal Innovators: Tswana Cheifs and Social Change 1795–1940. London: The Athelone Press.
Schler Lynn, Bethlehem Louise, and Sabar Galia. 2009. Editorial: Rethinking Labor in Africa, Past and Present. Special issue, Rethinking African Labor, Past and Present. African Identities 7, 3: 299325.
Selolwane Onalena D. 1998. Equality of Citizenship and Gendering of Democracy in Botswana. In Edge W. A. and Lekorwe M. H., eds., Botswana: Politics and Society. Pretoria: J. L. van Schaik Academic, 397411.
Simmonds N. E. 2007. Law as a Moral Idea. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Solway Jacqueline S. 2009. Human Rights and NGO ‘Wrongs’: Conflict Diamonds, Culture Wars and the ‘Bushman Question.’ Africa 79, 3: 321–46.
Subramanian Ajantha. 2009. Shorelines: Space and Rights in South India. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Tamanaha Brian Z. 2009. Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Tate Winifred. 2007. Counting the Dead. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Tomlins Christopher L. 1985. The State and the Unions: Labor Relations, Law, and the Organized Labor Movement in America, 1880–1960. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tomlins Christopher L. 1993. Law, Labor and Ideology in the Early American Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tomlins Christopher L. 2007. How Autonomous Is Law? Annual Review of Law, Society and Science 3: 4568.
Watson Alan. 1993. Legal Transplants: An Approach to Comparative Law. 2d ed.Athens: University of Georgia Press.
Werbner Pnina. 2009. Dialogical Subjectivities for Hard Times: Expanding Political and Ethical Imaginaries of Elite and Subaltern Southern African Women. African Identities 7, 3: 299325.
Werbner Pnina. 2014. The Making of an African Working Class: Law, Politics and Cultural Protest in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana. London: Pluto Press (in press).
Werbner Richard. 1977. Small Man Politics and the Rule of Law: Centre-Periphery Relations in East Central Botswana. Journal of African Law 21: 2439.
Werbner Richard. 1980. The Quasi-Judicial and the Experience of the Absurd: Remaking Land Law in North-Eastern Botswana. Journal of African Law 24, 1: 131–50.
Wilson Richard A. 2001. The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: Legitimizing the Post-Apartheid State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 40 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 249 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.