Law and Anthropology: Old Relations, New Relativities

Carol J Greenhouse

in Law and Anthropology

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199580910
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723025 | DOI:

Series: Current Legal Issues

 Law and Anthropology: Old Relations, New Relativities

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This chapter argues that we should resist imagining the law—anthropology relation as prefigured in the law/society distinction, since that very distinction is inaccessible except in so far as it is worked contingently in relation to the legitimacy of federal powers. If the judicialization of politics and the politicization of law are dominant keys in our age, then law and anthropology together are well placed to sustain the radical relativity of the law—society relation, its real-time timeliness, and the elusiveness of law's dominance within deregulation by attending to contests over the nature and limits of law wherever these are waged. Such affirmations of the nation are not consistently on one side or the other with respect to outcomes. Rather, they press a question on to the competition between cooperative and demutualized renderings of the public and their effects, as markets imagined as consumer-driven increasingly supplant political communities with the legal fiction of self-regulation.

Keywords: law; anthropology; legal anthropology; nation; law—society relation

Chapter.  9611 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Law

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