W041
Regulating uncertainty: anthropological approaches to spaces of uncertainty in and of law [EN & FR]

Convenors:
Damiana Otoiu (Bucharest University)
Cristina Golomoz (University of Oxford)
Chair:
Cristina Golomoz (LSE), Damiana Otoiu (University of Bucharest)
Discussant:
Jennifer Cash, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology & Lale Yalcin-Heckmann (University of Halle-Wittenberg)
Location:
R08 (in V)
Start time:
11 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This workshop invites studies examining the role of law and of legal institutions in coping with uncertainties and risks pervading our lives. We welcome ethnographic, legal, and other social sciences approaches to legal uncertainty, indeterminacy, and risk.

Long abstract:

It is a basic assumption in contemporary social sciences that individuals possess limited degrees of rationality and reflexivity for understanding and responding to the surrounding (living) environment and landscape. As a consequence, the different social and cultural contexts in which individuals live face them with different types and forms of uncertainty spaces, that is, zones in which norms or regulations are insufficient or entirely absent. This observation retains validity even for spaces which are par excellence regulatory systems and which foster certainty as their inner principle, as it is the case of law. This workshop invites studies examining the role of law and of legal institutions in coping with uncertainties and risks pervading our lives. Added the fact that attitudes to risk and uncertainty are not homogenous, but they vary (also) according to cultural and group biases (M. Douglas and A. Wildavsky: 1982), we welcome ethnographic, legal, and other social sciences approaches to: - Perception and assessment of legal uncertainty and risk across legal and cultural traditions - Legal definitions of risk and uncertainty - Legal indeterminacy and interpretability of law - Attempts at or claims of reducing legal indeterminacy and uncertainty - Social benefits and costs of legal indeterminacy and uncertainty - Ways in which courts and judges handle uncertainty and risk