Law, Relationality, Individuation | Department of Sociology

Law, Relationality, Individuation

Sociological themes of the individual and collective have shaped the studies of legal pluralism. The assumptions underlying state law is that the individual is atomistic, agentive and bound by social contract, while non-state legal forums such as village councils, religious institutions and customary law tend to be based on adherence to authority, relationality and plurality. Ethnographic and archival research point to how these distinctions are far more complex with the historical co-emergence and co-production of state law and non-state law. Such a focus on law and temporality also reveals the portability of ideas, which have animated the practices of legal institutions, over time and space. These ideas contribute to the articulation and enactment of ethics and judgement. Particularly revealing for the contemporary moment are how institutional formations have led to individuation despite the expansion of associational life.