Exploring Legal Culture in Law-Avoidance Societies

  • Robert L. Kidder


Sociologists tend to speak of ethnographic methods as standing in contrast to the work of our “number crunchers” who seek to test hypotheses by using samples called for by statistical models. Our embrace of ethnography (or our more general term, “field methods”) has roots in a sociological tradition, “symbolic interaction,” which emphasizes the relationship between perceptions of reality and actions based on those perceptions. Sociological methods such as participant observation, therefore, are justified on the grounds that one must “see the world as one’s subjects see it” in order to understand the choices they make, as inferred from their actions.


Amish Family Dispute Settlement Legal Institution Amish People Legal Culture 
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© June Starr and Mark Goodale 2002

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  • Robert L. Kidder

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