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 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bourgois, Philippe 1999 “Theory, Method and Power in Drug and HIV-Prevention Research: A Participant-Observer s Critique.” In Substance Use and Misuse 34(14): 2153–2170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dahrendorf, Ralf 1968 Essays in the Theory of Society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Gluckman, Max 1959 Custom and Conflict in Africa. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  4. Graburn, Nelson n.d. “The Accidental Pilgrim: How Do We Know About Tourists?” Paper presented for International Academy for the Study of Tourism (LAST) Meeting, Zagreb, June 1999.Google Scholar
  5. Hartog, Hendrik 1993 “Abigail Bailey’s Coverture: Law in a Married Woman’s Consciousness.” In Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns (eds.), Law in Everyday Life. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kleinman, Arthur 1999 “Moral Experience and Ethical Reflection: Can Ethnography Reconcile Them? A Quandary for ‘The New Bioethics.’ “ Daedalus (Special Issue: Bioethics and Beyond), Fall.Google Scholar
  7. Malinowski, Bronislaw 1922 Argonauts of the Western Pacific. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., 1961.Google Scholar
  8. Nader, Laura 1964 “Talea and Juquila: A Comparison of Zapotec Social Organization.” University of California Publications in America Archaeology and Ethnology 48(3): 195–296.Google Scholar
  9. Nader, Laura 1965a “Choices in Legal Procedure: Shia Moslem and Mexican Zapotec.” American Anthropologist 67(2): 394–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Nader, Laura 1965b “The Anthropological Study of Law.” American Anthropologist (Special Issue: The Ethnography of Law) 67(6) (December): 3–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nader, Laura 1966 To Make the Balance (Film distribution, University of California Extension).Google Scholar
  12. Nader, Laura 1969 “Styles of Court Procedure: To Make the Balance.” In Law in Culture and Society. Chicago: Aldine Press, pp. 69–91.Google Scholar
  13. Nader, Laura 1975 “Forums for Justice—a cross-cultural perspective.” In M. Lerner, ed., Journal of Social Issues, The Justice Motive in Social Behavior 31(3): 151–170.Google Scholar
  14. Nader, Laura 1976 “Professional Standards and What We Study.” In Ethics and Anthropology: Dilemmas in Fieldwork, M. Rynkiewich and J. P. Spradley, eds., New York: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 167–181.Google Scholar
  15. Nader, Laura 1979 “Disputing Without the Force of Law,” in Yale Law Journal, vol. 88, no. 5 (Special Issue on Dispute Resolution), pp. 998–1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nader, Laura 1980a (L. Nader, ed.) No Access to Law: Alternatives to the American Judicial System. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Nader, Laura 1980b “The Vertical Slice: Hierarchies and Children.” In Hierarchy and Society: Anthropological Perspectives on Bureaucracy, G. Britain and R. Cohen (eds.), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh: ISHI Press, pp. 31–43.Google Scholar
  18. Nader, Laura 1981 Film: “Little Injustices—Laura Nader Looks at the Law.” Odyssey Series PBS.Google Scholar
  19. Nader, Laura 1989 “The ADR Explosion: The Implications of Rhetoric in Legal Reform.” Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, University of Windsor, Ontario, pp. 269–291.Google Scholar
  20. Nader, Laura 1990 Harmony Ideology: Justice and Control in a Mountain Zapotec Village. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Nader, Laura 1991 Spanish translation 1998. Ideologia arnionica-Justicia y control en un pueblo de la montana zapoteca. Serie: DISHA. Oaxaca, Mexico.Google Scholar
  22. Nader, Laura 1995 “Civilization and Its Negotiators.” In Understanding Disputes: The Politics of Law, Pat Kaplan (ed.), New York: Berg Publishers, pp. 39–63.Google Scholar
  23. Nader, Laura 1999 “Pushing the Limits-Eclecticism on Purpose.” POLAR 22(1) (May 1999).Google Scholar
  24. Nader, Laura and H. Todd, Jr., ed. 1978 The Disputing Process: Law in Ten Societies, Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Siegal, Bernard and Alan Beals 1960 “Conflict and Factionalist Dispute.” In Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 90: 107–117.Google Scholar
  26. Wellin, Christopher and Gary Alan Fine n.d. “Ethnography as an Occupation.” Unpublished ms.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© June Starr and Mark Goodale 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Nader

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations