The Legal Dimensions of Everyday Life
Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 16, pp. 45-65, 2001
22 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2010 Last revised: 11 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2001
The author suggests that there is some architectural continuity between law in brief encounters and law in more complex forms of interaction. The argument proceeds in three steps. In the first part, the author spells out some of the characteristics of everyday life as a normative site., drawing from a monograph by Michael Reisman. The conceptual apparatus of official law is enlisted to present the mundane encounter as a space of interaction subject to legal ordering. the second part begins from the other end - it points to the uses of everyday life as an allegory for fundamental problems of macrolegal ordering, as illustrated by the work of Roderick Macdonald.
Taken together, the first two parts raise the possibility of a practice of comparative legal scholarship emerging from the insight of legal pluralists. If everyday life is a normative order (or a constellation of normative orders), it can be compared to other, less transient normative orders. Continuity, discontinuity, shared and divergent characteristics can then be identified. The language and features of one can be used to understand the other. This is what I propose to do in the third part, which compares some elements of the normative architecture of the microlegal systems, on the one hand, and the normative architecture of relational contracts revealed in the work of Jean-Guy Belley, on the other.
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