Legal Pluralism

Margaret Davies

in The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542475
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 Legal Pluralism

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Legal pluralism refers to the idea that in any one geographical space defined by the conventional boundaries of a nation state, there is more than one law or legal system. This article examines several aspects of legal pluralism focusing on the relationship between the empirical facts of pluralism and its conceptual foundations. Variety of factors produce the perception of legal pluralism, which is reflected in intensified interest in the concept in contemporary scholarship. Legal philosophy and sociological approaches to law often still occupy quite separate scholarly terrains. Legal pluralism has been identified as a fruitful area for constructive engagement between legal philosophy and the sociology of law. This article emphasizes the fact that with the decline of nation states as the locus of political and legal power, it seems inevitable that traditional state-centered legal philosophy must give way to a different paradigm, which recognizes the plurality of law.

Keywords: legal pluralism; legal system; legal philosophy; sociological approaches; sociology of law; political and legal power; plurality of law

Article.  10240 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law

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