Doing Ethnography: Living Law, Life Histories, and Narratives from Botswana

  • Anne Griffiths


The power of narrative in constituting social relations is one that has been acknowledged by a number of disciplines, including law.1 Narrative endorses a multiplicity of forms from a diverse range of sources. But regardless of the form they are given, a key issue is always the basis upon which narratives are accorded recognition, or conversely, denied legitimacy. A second focal question asks how they are situated with respect to other narratives and the types of authority that they command.2 My chapter focuses on narrative, in terms of life histories, from a village in Botswana, in southern Africa. It does so in order to provide an account of law that is based on people’s experiences in daily life in that village, Molepolole. This perspective is one that provides a counterpoint to the type of legal analysis that is associated with legal centralism or formalism.


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© June Starr and Mark Goodale 2002

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  • Anne Griffiths

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