Ethnographies of law are historically associated with anthropology and the study of far-away places and people. In contrast, this volume underscores the importance of ethnographic research in analyzing law in all societies, particularly complex developed nations. By exploring recent ethnographic research by socio-legal scholars across a range of disciplines, the volume highlights how an ethnographic approach helps in appreciating the realities of legal pluralism, the subtle contradictions in any legal system and how legal meaning is constantly reproduced on the ground through the cultural frames and practices of peoples' everyday lives.
Part I Historical Contexts and Postcolonial Realities: Certainties undone: 50 turbulent years of legal anthropology, 1949-1999, Sally Falk Moore; History, power, ideology and culture: current directions in the anthropology of law, Peter Just; 'Let them eat cake': globalization, postmodern colonialism and the possibilities of justice, Susan S. Silbey; Legal claims to culture in and against the market: neoliberalism and the global proliferation of meaningful difference, Rosemary J. Coombe. Part II New Ethnographic Subjects and Methodologies: Crossing boundaries: ethnography in the 21st century, Sally Engle Merry; Doorwork and legal risk: observations from an embodied ethnography, Lee F. Monaghan; Naming resistance: ethnographers, dissidents, and states, Susan Bibler Coutin and Susan F. Hirsch; Real time: unwinding technocratic and anthropological knowledge, Annelise Riles; Caring and being cared for: displacing marriage, kinship, gender and sexuality, John Borneman. Part III Narratives of Law: Rhetoric, Performance and Imagery: A conversation with Tibetans? Reconsidering the relationship between religious beliefs and secular legal discourse, Rebecca R. French; Globalization and the decline of legal consciousness: torts, ghosts, and karma in Thailand, David M. Engel; Imagining the law of the father: loss, dread, and mourning in The Sweet Hereafter, Austin Sarat; Narrating social structure: stories of resistance to legal authority, Patricia Ewick and Susan Silbey. Part IV States, Rights, Violence and Constructing Legal Subjectivity: Losing (out on) intellectual resources, Marilyn Strathern; Criminal justice, cultural justice: the limits of liberalism and the pragmatics of difference in the new South Africa John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff; Mothercraft, statecraft and subjectivity in the Palestinian intifada, Iris Jean-Klein; Limiting indigenous autonomy in Chiapas, Mexico: the state government's use of human rights, Shannon Sp