This network serves as a platform for exchange and collaboration for EASA members who are interested in law, rights discourses and the practices of governing. It is the outcome of a merger of the Network for the Anthropology of Law and Rights and the Network for the Anthropology of International Governance in 2016.
The new network’s interests include the codified law and specialised agencies of the modern nation-state and the wide range of customary legal and indigenous political institutions that have been studied by anthropologists since the early 20th century. It also reflects the increasing importance of mechanisms of private governance and authority exercised by powerful corporations and by networks representing financial and business interests. In addition, the network pays particular attention to the transnational and international dimension, especially the anthropology of international organisations, international human rights discourse, international indigenous rights, migration law, and international development.
Members of the network examine how various and often contradictory norms are produced and contested across scales through complex processes of formal and informal negotiation and mechanisms of participation. For example, civil society organisations and representatives of indigenous communities transcend the boundaries of the nation-states to draw attention to local problems at the international level and contribute to the emergence of global vocabularies and discourses. International actors in turn present themselves as working on a different scale from the local, but also claim a level of expertise about the situation ‘on the ground’. The international is thus enmeshed with local and national processes, and although it may seek to produce a sense of transcendence, it is always concretely located.
Current legal and political anthropological research examines
- the co-existence of multiple normative orders (legal pluralism) in modern nation-states and beyond,
- indigenous peoples’ legal systems and their claims against governments and private interests,
- international human rights discourse,
- asylum and refugee law as well as
- banking, environmental and health regulations (to name just a few)
- the making and implementation of development policies and projects
- contemporary technologies and practices of governing and management.
To facilitate discussions and the development of exciting, cutting-edge research LAW NET maintains an active mailing list sharing information on publications, vacancies, funding opportunities and events. In addition, to the biannual EASA conference the network plans to hold regular workshops across Europe.
The network is keen to reach out to other associations and networks. For instance, it maintains a close relationship with the Commission of Legal Pluralism and Allegra, the virtual lab of legal anthropology.