Moving On—Comprehending Anthropologies of Law

  • Laura Nader


In 1965 I began my article on “The Anthropological Study of Law” with an assertion: “It is my belief that we are just now on the growing edge of an anthropological understanding of law in its various manifestations.” Such is still my belief. I went on to confess that “the anthropological study of law has not to date affected, in any grand way at least, the theory and methodology of the anthropological discipline…”(Nader 1965: 1). Such is still true. On the other hand, the anthropological study of law has had a good deal of impact on allied fields of law and social inquiry. “Our” terrain—the non-Western other—our approaches and methods such as participant observation, as well as what we have learned about social and cultural processes through ethnography, filtered into other disciplines. Notions of critique and comparison, culture and local knowledge, and various ideas about pluralism and perception also moved horizontally into sister disciplines. Indeed, an interest in one of our key subject matters—the disputing process—spread beyond the academic world.


Alternative Dispute Resolution Anthropological Study Ethnographic Work Consumer Complaint Fieldwork Experience 
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© June Starr and Mark Goodale 2002

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  • Laura Nader

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