Law at its limits: Interdisciplinarity between law and anthropology

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Abstract

The social-scientific study of law is a heterogeneous, interdisciplinary field where social scientists and legal scholars come together. Whilst sharing a keen interest in the law as social fact, both shaping and being shaped by ideas and behaviour, they do so drawing on different epistemological and methodological foundations. Especially, between legal studies and socio-cultural anthropology, there seems to be a divide in terms of research questions, epistemology and methodology. These differences led Geertz to conclude that legal anthropology ought not to fuse legal studies and anthropology to form a ‘centaur discipline’. Franz von Benda-Beckmann, trained both as lawyer and anthropologist, took issue with this dictum and saw legal anthropology in terms of ‘riding the centaur’. This article will examine different approaches addressing the relationships between the law, legal anthropology and the social-scientific study of law in light of his work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-422
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Volume47
Issue number3
Early online date2 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • legal anthropology
  • socio-legal studies
  • sociology of law
  • interdisciplinarity
  • adat law studies
  • legal pluralism

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