Introduction: Law and Anthropology

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This introductory chapter discusses the development of studies on legal anthropology. It argues that the scope and nature of legal anthropology has changed and broadened considerably in the last generation. The concerns of the legal anthropologist are now similar to those whose discipline is general social theory and sociology, including sociology of law. As anthropologists turned their attention away from simple societies to their own more complex world, concerns also shifted, both to the examination of regular legal culture, and to systems that stand in for or replace regular systems of law. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.

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... Like witchcraft accusations, corruption narratives reveal a great deal about social tensions and the normative order of a society: what it considers ethical/unethical, moral/immoral, or legal/illegal (Haller and Shore 2005;Muir 2016). Social norms become most visible in moments of transgression, or as Parkin (1985) noted in The Anthropology of Evil, morality is most clearly seen in its transgression. 2 In this respect, and to paraphrase Lévi-Strauss, corruption is "good to think with": while the analysis of corruption may not produce any definitive answers or solutions, like myth, it can reveal some of the fundamental dilemmas and contradictions that underlie any social system. "University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime": Administrative Capture and Institutionalized Rent Seeking One inspiration for this article was a polemical article in the journal CounterPunch titled "University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime," written by Vincent Roscigno (2015), a professor of Sociology at Ohio State University. ...
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Corruption narratives, like witchcraft accusations, offer a lens for analyzing social relations, economic interests, and hidden structures of power. Developing this theme, I examine discourses of corruption in the context of growing concerns about fraud prevention and anti-corruption in universities. Moving beyond critiques of university administrations as bureaucratic, self-serving entities whose interests are increasingly antithetical to the academic mission of the university, I ask, What is corruption in academia and how does this assumed problem relate to academic capitalism and the rise of audit culture? The empirical context for my study is the extraordinary increase in institutionalized fraud-prevention programs, particularly those offered by the “Big Four” accountancy firms. Taking as my case study the introduction of a whistle-blower hotline at one Australasian university, I examine the politics and interests behind such schemes. The increasing involvement of accountancy firms in nonauditing work, including anti-corruption services, illustrates how corruption narratives operate as market-making strategies. I examine how commercialization, risk management, and auditing proliferate anti-corruption initiatives and how audit firms collude in the risk and corruption that they claim to ameliorate. I conclude by assessing the implications for the anthropology of corruption of the growing penetration of universities by an increasingly commercially focused tax industry that, some argue, cannot even be trusted to regulate itself.
... I have chosen the word simply because it is the most versatile available in the English language to cover the wide range of behaviors, acts and characters that I wish to explore in this study. The implications of the term and its referents over an extended historical period and across a wide range of cultures are admirably explored in David Parkin's The Anthropology of Evil ( Parkin 1985). For comparative perspectives on the subject of evil, the present article will draw principally on articles contained in that collection. ...
... I have chosen the word simply because it is the most versatile available in the English language to cover the wide range of behaviors, acts and characters that I wish to explore in this study. The implications of the term and its referents over an extended historical period and across a wide range of cultures are admirably explored in David Parkin's The Anthropology of Evil (Parkin 1985). For comparative perspectives on the subject of evil, the present article will draw principally on articles contained in that collection. ...
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Anthropologists have long pointed out the intensity with which people sort economic practices into moralized types based on the practices’ purported aims such as gift-giving, ‘deep play,’ and guanxi. Yet more than a century after Malinowski first pitched his tent in the Trobriand Islands and some nine decades after Mauss proposed his theory of the gift, we still know little about how people invoke these types in interaction and why they find them so compelling. In this dissertation, I explore the moral and pragmatic life of economic types in Luang Prabang, Laos and challenge the epistemological life of similar types in anthropology. I argue that understanding moral economy is fundamentally a semiotic problem. That is, moral economic types can only be understood if we study the communicative acts in which they are made manifest. With close attention to these acts, I show that any answer to the classic ethical question of ‘How one should live’ (Williams 2006) is inevitably entangled with another question: ‘How is one living?’ In Laos, since the 1975 socialist revolution, typifying economic conduct has been a national project. As the late-socialist state adopts once-banned forms of economy, it reframes these practices using the moral categories of its socialist past: the lottery has become ‘pro-development,’ capitalistic business has become a vehicle for the eventual attainment of ‘socialism,’ and gambling, in certain forms, has become ‘good.’ Although I touch on a broad range of empirical economic and social practices—theft at a funeral, lottery buying and selling, paying for food at a bar—I focus empirically on conduct that seems to blur moral types of economy and combine conflicting aims and logics, like generosity and greed, friendship and estrangement, socialism and capitalism. Most centrally, I reflect on the moral and pragmatic dimensions of a contrast that gamblers on the French colonial game called pétanque make between ‘gambling for money’ (lin5 kin3 ngen2) and ‘gambling for beer’ (lin5 kin3 bia3). Using materials from more than fifteen months of fieldwork in the rapidly developing city of Luang Prabang, I disentangle the variety of reflexive forms people use to invoke these moral economic types, including implicit and explicit typifications of conduct as well as generic propositions about the types as kinds. I show that close attention to these forms reveals their allure and multifunctional utility: they are not just conceptual categories for reflecting on the world but also clusters of semiotic resources people use to make ethical and pragmatic claims about others as well as themselves. While anthropologists have been wary of ‘ideal types’ in recent years because they ‘distort’ practice, I show that by attending to the heterogeneous ways people use types, we can better understand the reflexive dimensions of ‘ordinary ethics’ and the methodological and epistemological muddles that arise when scholars try to disentangle communication from action.
Functionalist anthropology has a contested legacy. Some scholars have praised functionalism as a contributor to the relativizing of civilizations and cultures while others have criticized it as a colonial science smoothing the interwar workings of indirect rule. This article argues that the colonial politics of functionalist anthropology can only be understood against the background of resurgent settler colonialism in British East Africa. Supporters of indirect rule increasingly relied on a language of scientific administration and welfarist policies associated with the League of Nations to bolster their position against the settlers in the 1920s and 1930s. Functionalism offered them some means of support on this count. The functionalists, meanwhile, co-opted the language of indirect rule to pursue their own intra-disciplinary ends. This combination of interests was pragmatic and flexible rather than ossified and ideological, marked more by what both opposed (settler colonialism) than a shared ideal towards which they aspired (indirect rule). Anthropologists and colonial administrators possessed very different ideas of indirect rule, with strikingly different implications for the future of Britain's African Empire.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s the missionary position became widespread as a technical expression for facetoface manontop sexual intercourse. It was accompanied by standard (and undocumented) stories as to the origin of the expression, stories featuring missionaries and either Polynesians, Africans, Chinese, Native Americans, or Melanesians. By the late 1980s and 1990s the expression had become a core symbol in modernist and postmodernist moral discourses. This paper examines accounts of the origin of the expression, provides evidence that it originated in Kinseys (mis)reading of Malinowski, analyzes the symbolic elements of the missionaryposition narrative as synthesizing modernist objections to Christian morality, analyzes the missionary position in postmodernist narratives as synthesizing postmodernist objections to modernist morality, and explores some of the functions of this myth within the academy.
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The Minangkabau society is due to its matrilineal social structure quite ‘unique’. Many anthropologists give the impression that the so-called ‘traditional’ society is able to solve conflicts and disputes. In this paper a conflict will be illustrated that could not be solved by the ‘traditional’ levels of jurisdiction. The district court had to intervene and find a solution. This case has some impacts: it shows that parts of the ‘traditional’ society are in a process of disintegration. Furthermore it shows that there is a lack of the authority of the adat dignitaries and that the people even try to be an active part of that process by putting the clan system aside and referring to a system from outside. The objective of this case study is to illustrate a conflict which concerns people who are not original inhabitants of a Minangkabau village and to show the difficulty of finding a solution.
Scholarly discussion in literature departments has moved on from the time of the so-called theory wars in the later part of the twentieth century. Major new trajectories can be discovered in the absorption of literary studies within cultural studies, but also in a new reflectiveness of what literature 'is', how it works and what are its distinctive features. The latter issues can be found in studies loosely grouped under the such labels as 'New Formalism', 'New Aestheticism', or 'Philosophy of Literature'. The purpose of this essay is to explore the impact of this turn in literary studies on the field of law and literature. The consequences for scholarship in this area, it is suggested, are, on the one hand, the repositioning of law and literature at a greater disciplinary distance that has been common within the law and literature movement, and, on the other hand, a re-invigoration of the dialogue between law and literature, where both side can discover new and more clearly defined ways of benefiting from the mutual, cross-disciplinary dialogue.
This study focuses on Black Metal and Death Metal music as complimentary forms of commodified evil, which, in contrast to most other forms of commodified evil, provide an alternative form of modern escapism. In particular, it demonstrates that in glorifying evil their respective natures and essences effectively suggest to us that the ability to overcome our problems, and cope with the world's atrocities, lies not in the vain hope that justice will prevail, but rather, in embracing evil and actively cultivating a desensitizing ethos of utter indifference to the plight and suffering of others. In addition, because Black Metal and Death Metal have both generated their own distinct sub-cultures, which are predominantly populated by marginalized youths, this study simultaneous begs the question: What is it that motivates them to produce and/or endorse forms of music, and thereby become members of sub-cultures, which ostensibly promote such a negative world view? Consequently, it also demonstrates some of the important ways in which they can serve to help their proponents regain a sense of power and control over their lives. It then concludes by looking at Black Metal and Death Metal's (potential) social effects - both negative and positive.
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