Introduction: Arguing with Tradition in Native America

in Arguing with Tradition

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226712932
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226712963 | DOI:
Introduction: Arguing with Tradition in Native America

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This book analyzes tradition and culture as discourses in and of contemporary tribal law by considering the microdetails of face-to-face communication in one tribal legal context: that of property hearings held before the Hopi Tribal Court. It argues that the complex imbrications of language, culture, and law constitute the emergent “edge” of contemporary Hopi tribal jurisprudence and the social meanings and effects generated there. It supports this claim by analyzing how legal actors work up contradictory formulations regarding the kinds of talk that are the proper modes and objects of Hopi Tribe courtroom proceedings; how they call for or challenge courtroom uses of tradition by invoking notions of Hopi cultural difference, tradition, and claims to tribal sovereignty. It thus offers a fresh look into the politics of indigenous tradition and culture. The book focuses on the ways in which the ideologies, metadiscourses, and metapragmatics that constitute the “courtroom talk about courtroom talk” constitute notions of tradition and cultural difference in ways that reveal multiple, contradictory, even paradoxical meanings and consequences as the sequence of Hopi court proceedings unfolds.

Keywords: tradition; culture; tribal law; property; court proceedings; Hopi Tribal Court; language; jurisprudence; sovereignty; Hopi Tribe

Chapter.  10168 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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