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Law after Anthropology: Object and Technique in Roman Law

Pottage, Alain (2014) Law after Anthropology: Object and Technique in Roman Law. Theory, Culture & Society, 31 (2-3). pp. 147-166. ISSN 0263-2764. (doi:10.1177/0263276413502239) (KAR id:86622)


Anthropological scholarship after Marilyn Strathern does something that might surprise lawyers schooled in the tradition of ‘law and society’, or ‘law in context’. Instead of construing law as an instrument of social forces, or as an expression of processes by which society maintains and reproduces itself, a new mode of anthropological enquiry focuses sharply on ‘law itself’, on what Annelise Riles calls the ‘technicalities’ of law. How might the legal scholar be inspired by this approach? In this article, I explore one possible way of approaching law after anthropology, which is to find within law’s own archive a set of resources for an analogous representation of law itself. Drawing on the historical scholarship of Yan Thomas, I suggest that the Roman conception of law as object offers an engaging counterpart to the anthropological take on law as a specific set of tools or, technicalities, or as a particular art of making relations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0263276413502239
Uncontrolled keywords: analogy, contextualization, law and anthropology, Roman law
Subjects: K Law
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Alain Pottage
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 12:14 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 14:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Pottage, Alain.

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