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Law against the State
Ethnographic Forays into Law's Transformations


Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

Stuart Kirsch, Brian Donahoe, Harri Englund, Gerhard Anders, Olaf Zenker, Julia Eckert, Amita Baviskar, Christian Strümpell, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Erdem Evren, Upendra Baxi
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  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107014664

£ 67.00

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About the Authors
  • This collection of rich, empirically grounded case studies investigates the conditions and consequences of 'juridification' - the use of law by ordinary individuals as a form of protest against 'the state'. Starting from the actual practices of claimants, these case studies address the translation and interpretation of legal norms into local concepts, actions and practices in a way that highlights the social and cultural dynamism and multivocality of communities in their interaction with the law and legal norms. The contributors to this volume challenge the image of homogeneous and primordially norm-bound cultures that has been (unintentionally) perpetuated by some of the more prevalent treatments of law and culture. This volume highlights the heterogeneous geography of law and the ways boundaries between different legal bodies are transcended in struggles for rights. Contributions include case studies from South Africa, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Turkey, India, Papua New Guinea, Suriname, the Marshall Islands and Russia.

    • Dynamic, ethnographically rich case studies from across the globe
    • Compelling for readers who are interested in real-life interactions with law
    • Empirically grounded analysis of legal institutions across a variety of scales
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107014664
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.61kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: law's travels and transformations Julia Eckert, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Brian Donahoe and Christian Strümpell
    1. Juridification of indigenous politics Stuart Kirsch
    2. Naming, claiming, proving? The burden of proof issue for Russia's indigenous peoples Brian Donahoe
    3. Human rights and village headmen in Malawi: translation beyond vernacularisation Harri Englund
    4. Juridification, transitional justice and reaching out to the public in Sierra Leone Gerhard Anders
    5. The juridification of political protest and the politicisation of legalism in South African land restitution Olaf Zenker
    6. Rumours of rights Julia Eckert
    7. Public interest and private compromises: the politics of environmental negotiation in Delhi, India Amita Baviskar
    8. Law against displacement: the juridification of tribal protest in Rourkela, Orissa Christian Strümpell
    9. Documenting 'truth' in the margins of the Turkish state Zerrin Özlem Biner
    10. The ones who walk away: law, sacrifice and conscientious objection in Turkey Erdem Evren
    Epilogue: changing paradigms of human rights Upendra Baxi.

  • Editors

    Julia Eckert, Universität Bern, Switzerland
    Julia Eckert is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern and head of the research group 'Law against the State' at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany. Her research interests are in legal anthropology, the anthropology of the modern state, social movements, the anthropology of crime and punishment and changing notions of responsibility and justice.

    Brian Donahoe, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
    Brian Donahoe is an independent researcher, writer and editor. From 2004 to 2010 he was postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. His thematic interests include the dynamics of constructing, maintaining and asserting ethnic identity and indigeneity, and different approaches to guaranteeing indigenous rights to land.

    Christian Strümpell, Universität Heidelberg
    Christian Strümpell is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University. His research interests are in the anthropology of labour, economic anthropology and political anthropology, with a regional focus on South Asia in general and the Indian state of Orissa.

    Zerrin Özlem Biner, University of Cambridge
    Zerrin Özlem Biner is a research associate in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. Her research explores new ethnographic sites for the study of the state in documenting the experiences of minority citizens in post-conflict settings in contemporary Turkey.


    Stuart Kirsch, Brian Donahoe, Harri Englund, Gerhard Anders, Olaf Zenker, Julia Eckert, Amita Baviskar, Christian Strümpell, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Erdem Evren, Upendra Baxi

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