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The Anthropology of Law


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Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: Order, Disputes, and Legal Pluralism 3: Legal Thought: Meaning and Form 4: Law as an Intellectual Tradition 5: Idealism, Tradition, and Authority 6: Legalism 7: Morality and Community 8: Law and the State 9: Conclusion Bibliography

About the Author

Fernanda Pirie is a University Lecturer in socio-legal studies at the University of Oxford, and Director of the University's Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. An anthropologist by training, following a career at the London Bar, she has carried out fieldwork for over a decade on the Tibetan plateau. Her studies have centred on conflict resolution, social order, and tribe-state relations, and have lead to publications on violence, conflict, order, and disorder. More recently she has been working on the nature of legalism on the Tibetan plateau. She is a coordinator of the Oxford Legalism project, which brings together scholars from law, history, anthropology, classics, and oriental studies in a series of seminars and workshops, in order to compare examples of legalistic texts, practices, and thought from across the world.


Fernanda Pirie has produced a hugely impressive and important piece of work for sociolegal studies. It is a genuinely interdisciplinary study that takes on a foundational question for our field: what is law? Her thesis, carefully constructed and defended, is provocative and, in my view, significant both for its content and or the method by which she produces it. Although it will be of interest to scholars well beyond sociolegal studies, it is a book that deserves a great deal of attention within the field. * Simon Halliday, Social & Legal Studies *
This is a fascinating investigation into the nature of law in light of the findings of anthropology and comparative law... This reader has learnt a good deal from this persuasively argued book with its wealth of examples from all parts of the world and all ages of history. It must be recommended to anyone interested in legal theory, comparative law, or legal anthropology. * Gordon R. Woodman, The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law *
Fernanda Pirie's The Anthropology of Law is an exciting introduction to this ethnographically informed field of inquiry. Although a number of texts on anthropology and law have been published in recent years, Pirie's commentary is imbued with her own insightful contributions that help to more clearly define the field and at the same time make it accessible to a wide range of scholars across the social sciences and humanities. * Eve Darian-Smith, Law and History Review *

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