Uprooted Justice: Transformations of Law and Everyday Life in Northern Thailand

24 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2013

Date Written: 2011


Studies of law in everyday life tend to view law either as instrumental in shaping specific decisions and practices or as constitutive of the cultural categories through which humans apprehend their world and perceive law as relevant to a greater or lesser extent. This article, however, suggests that circumstances may arise in which law’s role in relation to everyday life is neither instrumental nor constitutive but instead becomes one of radical dissociation. Based on an analysis of injuries in northern Thailand, it examines two transformational episodes in Thai legal and political history. The first occurred at the turn of the twentieth century, when “modern” law was introduced, and the second at the turn of the twenty-first century during a period of intense social and economic change and global influence. A consideration of these two crucial historical periods demonstrates how law can become uprooted from everyday life and viewed as alien to the experiences and values of ordinary people.

Keywords: Asian Law, Comparative Law, Thailand, Law & Culture

Suggested Citation

Engel, David M., Uprooted Justice: Transformations of Law and Everyday Life in Northern Thailand (2011). Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 29, 2011, SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-029, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2231705

David M. Engel (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

415 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

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