The New Legal Pluralism

Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 5, pp. 225-242, 2009

18 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2009

See all articles by Paul Schiff Berman

Paul Schiff Berman

George Washington University - Law School

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Date Written: November 14, 2009


Scholars studying interactions among multiple communities have often used the term legal pluralism to describe the inevitable intermingling of normative systems that results from these interactions. In recent years, a new application of pluralist insights has emerged in the international and transnational realm. This review aims to survey and help define this emerging field of global legal pluralism. I begin by briefly describing sites for pluralism research, both old and new. Then I discuss how pluralism has come to be seen as an attractive analytical framework for those interested in studying law on the world stage. Finally, I identify advantages of a pluralist approach and respond to criticisms, and I suggest ways in which pluralism can help both in reframing old conceptual debates and in generating useful normative insights for designing procedural mechanisms, institutions, and discursive practices for managing hybrid legal/cultural spaces.

Keywords: legal, pluralism, globalization

Suggested Citation

Berman, Paul Schiff, The New Legal Pluralism (November 14, 2009). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 5, pp. 225-242, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Paul Schiff Berman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States

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