Paul Dresch and Hannah Skoda (ed.)
Anthropology and History
Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012, 368 p., ISBN:978-0-19-966426-9, £60
An interdisciplinary and cross-cultural examination of the nature and function of law in society
A detailed introduction provides a useful overview of the field and recent scholarship
The comparative nature of the study sheds new light on the role of law and legal theory in history and societyLaw and law-like institutions are visible in human societies very distant from each other in time and space. When it comes to observing and analysing such social constructs historians, anthropologists, and lawyers run into notorious difficulties in how to conceptualize them. Do they conform to a single category of 'law'? How are divergent understandings of the nature and purpose of law to be described and explained? Such questions reach to the heart of philosophical attempts to understand the nature of law, but arise whenever we are confronted by law-like practices and concepts in societies not our own.
In this volume leading historians and anthropologists with an interest in law gather to analyse the nature and meaning of law in diverse societies. They start from the concept of legalism, taken from the anthropologist Lloyd Fallers, whose 1960s work on Africa engaged, unusually, with jurisprudence. The concept highlights appeal to categories and rules. The degree to which legalism in this sense informs people's lives varies within and between societies, and over time, but it can colour equally both 'simple' and 'complex' law. Breaking with recent emphases on 'practice', nine specialist contributors explore, in a wide-ranging set of cases, the place of legalism in the workings of social life.
Edited by Paul Dresch, Fellow by Special Election, St John's College, Oxford, University Lecturer in Social Anthropology, and Hannah Skoda, Tutor and Fellow in history, St John's College, Oxford
- Paul Dresch is Fellow by Special Election at St John's College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in Social Anthropology. He has worked in both Yemen and the Arab Gulf. His first book Tribes, Government, and History in Yemen (OUP, 1989) remains a central reference on Yemeni history and ethnography. He has also published A History of Modern Yemen (2000), and is co-editor of volumes on anthropological fieldwork, on kinship and politics in the Middle East, and on the contemporary Arab Gulf. In recent years he has worked mainly on eighteenth-century and medieval colloquial law-texts from South Arabia.
- Hannah Skoda is Fellow and Tutor in medieval History at St John's College, Oxford. Prior to this, she was Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. She has published on the subject of interpersonal violence in medieval France, and is currently embarking on research into the misbehaviour of students in fifteenth-century Oxford, Paris and Heidelberg. Other publications have ranged from Dante to the experience of disability in the Middle Ages. She is particularly interested in the relationship between constructions of deviance, and the ways in which those thus labelled react to these stereotypes.
- Paul Brand is a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and Professor of English Legal History
- Donald R. Davis Jr. is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Paul Dresch is a Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in Social Anthropology
- Andrew Huxley is a barrister and is Professor of Southeast Asian Law at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, London)
- Georgy Kantor is a British Academy post-doctoral fellow in Classics at New College, Oxford
- Tom Lambert is Departmental Lecturer in Early Medieval History at Balliol College, Oxford
- Judith Scheele is a Junior Research Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford
- Hannah Skoda is Tutorial Fellow in History at St John's College, Oxford and University Lecturer in History
- Malcolm Vale is an Emeritus Research Fellow of St John's College, Oxford
Table des matières
- Paul Dresch: Legalism, Anthropology, and History: A View from Part of Anthropology.
- Hannah Skoda: A Historian's Perspective on the Present Volume.
- Georgy Kantor: Ideas of Law in Hellenistic and Roman Legal Practice.
- Donald Davis Jr: Centres of Law: Duties, Rights, and Pluralism in Medieval India.
- T.B. Lambert: The Evolution of Sanctuary in Medieval England.
- Paul Dresch: Aspects of Non-State Law: Early Yemen and Perpetual Peace.
- Paul Brand: The English Medieval Common Law (to c. 1307) as a System of National Institutions and Legal Rules: Creation and Functioning.
- Judith Scheele: Rightful Measures: Irrigation, Land, and the Shari'ah in the Algerian Touat.
- Andrew Huxley: Lord Kyaw Thu's Precedent: a Sixteenth-Century Burmese Law-Report.
- Malcolm Vale: Custom, Combat, and the Study of Laws: Montesquieu Revisited.
- Hannah Skoda: Legal Performances in Late Medieval France.