Talking Law in Times of Reform: Paradoxes of Legal Entitlement in Cameroon

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Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out between 2003 and 2005, this article examines how legality is constructed in present-day Adamaoua Province, Cameroon. Focusing on an instance of a process locally referred to as la concertation, I analyze how state officials and cattle traders gather to discuss the practical fate of law. As a heightened moment of suspended enforcement, la concertation is productive for both officials, who work out the limits of their respective spheres of authority and imagine a trade based on business norms and practices that severely limit the scope of regulatory action, and traders, who manage to stave off the increased scrutiny that income tax law presupposes, while asserting their concern for the integrity and consistency of the law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-921
JournalLaw & Society Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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