Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Readings in Legal Anthropology

Members of the H-Law listserve recently engaged in a conversation about good introductory works for a student interested in legal anthropology. I thought it might be useful to compile all the suggestions in one place, and to ask our readers to weigh in. Here's the list so far:
W. Lance Bennett and Martha S. Feldman, Reconstructing Reality in the Courtroom: Justice and Judgment in American Culture (Rutgers University Press, 1981).

Steve Bogira, Courtroom 302: A Year Behind the Scenes in an American Criminal Courthouse (Knopf, 2005).

Paul Bohannon, ed., Law and Warfare: Studies in the Anthropology of Conflict (Natural History Press, 1967).

Donald Brenneis, "Language and Disputing," Annual Review of Anthropology 17
(1988): 221-37.

John M. Conley and William M. O'Barr, Rules versus Relationships: The Ethnography of Legal Discourse (University of Chicago Press, 1990)

Jim Donovan, Legal Anthropology: An Introduction (AltaMira Press, 2007)

Sally Engle Merry, Colonizing Hawai'i: The Cultural Power of Law (Princeton University Press, 2000)

Sally Engle Merry, Getting Justice and Getting Even: Legal Consciousness Among Working-Class Americans (University of Chicago Press, 1990).

Sally Falk Moore, ed., Law and Anthropology: A Reader (Blackwell, 2005)

Laura Nader, No Access to Law: Alternatives to the American Judicial System (Academic Press, 1980)

Laura Nader, The Life of the Law: Anthropological Projects (University of California Press, 2002)

David Nelken, ed., Comparing Legal Cultures (Dartmouth, 1997)

David Nelken & Johannes Feest, eds., Adapting Legal Cultures (Hart, 2001)

Austin Sarat and Jonathan Simon, eds., Cultural Analysis, Cultural Studies, and the Law: Moving Beyond Legal Realism (Duke University Press, 2003)
H-Law members also suggested the work of Annelise Riles (Cornell Law School) and Anne Griffiths (Edinburgh Law School), but did not provide titles.

Do you have additions or comments? When I familiarize myself with a new area, I sometimes start by identifying a strong book series. The Chicago Series in Law and Society (edited by John M. Conley and Lynn Mather) appears to be a good resource for this topic.

hat tip: H-Law, and all the listserve members who offered suggestions. You can see a log of the discussion here, under the heading "Legal Anthropology?"