W117
Law and normative pluralism

Convenors:
Thomas Strong (National University of Ireland Maynooth)
Location:
John Hume Boardroom
Start time:
26 August, 2010 at 11:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Long abstract:

Contemporary problems of government often revolve around competing visions of 'the good.' Though normative orders in the contemporary world are often secured through the statements and procedures of government legal regimes, and the state institutions (police, courts, and so on) that ostensibly secure their hegemony, there are many signs that Law in the contemporary world does not simply dictate 'morality'. Instead, law(s) may be seen to intersect and compete with moral regimes that also vie for pride of place in articulating the terms and values of superordinate normative orders. Concrete topoi where such conflicts can be sensed include debates pertaining to indigenous rights and sovereignty, the place of Islamic jurisprudence in contemporary nation-states, developing critiques of humanitarianism and human rights discourse, critiques of intellectual property in the context of rapidly developing digital technologies, bioethics and biotechnology, and so on. Anthropologists interested in law and morality, then, are able to describe and analyze contemporary dynamics of government, politics, and power by examining these domains and the crises that sometimes inhabit them. Ethnographic analysis can yield refined perspectives on how 'global hierarchies of virtue and value' compete and conflict on the shifting stage of the global.