Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling: On the Governance of Law, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling

On the Governance of Law, 1st Edition

Edited by Franz von Benda-Beckmann, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann


302 pages

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Offering an anthropological perspective, this volume explores the changing relations between law and governance, examining how changes in the structure of governance affect the relative social significance of law within situations of legal pluralism. The authors argue that there has been a re-regulation rather than a de-regulation, propagated by a plurality of regulative authorities and this re-regulation is accompanied by an increasing ideological dominance of rights talk and juridification of conflict. Drawing on insights into such processes, this volume explores the extent to which law is used both as a constitutive legitimation of governance and as the medium through which governance processes take place. Highlighting some of the paradoxes and the unintended consequences of these regulating processes and the ensuing dynamics, Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling will be a valuable resource for researchers and students working in the areas of legal anthropology and governance.


'The question of how governance works in the contemporary, globalized world is of pressing importance. This fascinating collection addresses the contradictory and overlapping nature of governance from the perspective of legal pluralism and anthropological theory. The book provides great insight into the forms of order and disorder now roiling the world.' Sally Engle Merry, New York University, USA '…offers the sophisticated and serious student further insight into the complex, multi-dimensional relationship that exists between state and non-state actors, law and governance, violence and order.' The Law and Politics Book Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Rules of law and laws of ruling: law and governance between past and future, Franz von Benda-Beckmann, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann and Julia Eckert; Reflections on the anthropology of law, governance, and sovereignty, John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff; Private military companies and state sovereignty: regulating transnational flows of violence and capital, Diana Sidakis; Laws of suspicion: legal status, space, and the impossibility of separation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Tobias Kelly; Ritual and rule in the periphery: state violence and local governance in a Peruvian comunidad, Monique Nuitjen and David Lorenzo; Government, business and chiefs: ambiguities of social justice through land restitution in South Africa, Anne Hellum and Bill Derman; Re-scaling governance for better resource management?, Melanie G. Wiber and Arthur Bull; The governance of children: from welfare justice to proactive regulation in the Scottish Children's Hearings system, Anne Griffiths and Randy F. Kandel; Migration and integration of 3rd-country nationals in Europe: the need for the development of an efficient, effective and legitimate system of governance, Marie-Claire Foblets; From the revenue rule to soft law and back again: the consequences for 'society' of the social governance of international tax competition, Bill Maurer; The law of the project: government and 'good governance' at the World Bank in Indonesia, Tania Murray Li; Corruption as governance? Law, transparency and appointment procedures in Italian universities, David Nelken; Index.

About the Editors

Professor Franz von Benda-Beckmann is joint Head of the Project Group on Legal Pluralism at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. He is Honorary Professor for Ethnology at the University of Leipzig, and Honorary Professor for Legal Pluralism at the University of Halle. Keebet von Benda-Beckmann is joint Head of the Project Group on Legal Pluralism at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and Professor in Anthropology of Law, Faculty of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Law & Society Association. Julia Eckert is Associate Professor and Head of Research Group, in the Project Group on Legal Pluralism, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Her interests are in the areas of anthropology of modern state organisation, legal anthropology, group conflict, collective identities, nationalism, democracy.

About the Series

Law, Justice and Power

Law, Justice and Power
To speak about law is always and necessarily to be engaged in a discourse about both justice and power. While law's relationship to justice is everywhere contingent and uncertain, law completely divorced from power is unthinkable. And, while law need not be virtuous to be law, if it had no effect in the world it could hardly be said to merit the name law. Recognizing these facts, the series on Law, Justice and Power takes a broad view of legal scholarship.It publishes books by social scientists, humanists and legal academics which connect an understanding of culture's normative ideals with examination of the complex ways that law works in the world, insist that justice is inseparable from social practices and analyze law as one form of power, one way of constituting, controlling and changing the social world. It focuses on state law as well as law in communities and cultural practices and on identities and their articulation in and through law, on law's power in the taken-for-granted world, on its role in the complex construction of nation and national power and on global developments which today destabilize and transform the meaning and significance of law. The series invites innovative scholarship that crosses disciplinary as well as geographic and temporal boundaries.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Jurisprudence