The Contribution of Anthropology to Teaching Comparative and International Law
The Trials and Triumphs of Teaching Legal Anthropology (eds. Foblets, Woodman and Bradney) (Ashgate, 2015)
11 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 5, 2015
Anthropology has a distinct and essential role to play in teaching comparative and international law. This argument underlies the present paper, which is based mainly on teaching law to undergraduates and postgraduates in several European countries but also draws on my experience in other countries, notably China. Through a series of examples, I also hope to demonstrate that anthropology should never be parochial. Here I use the term ‘parochial’ in three senses: first, being limited in its empirical foundations to particular countries or parts of the world; second, being understood to be relevant only to domestic law, whether national law or European Union (EU) law, and not to comparative and international law; and third in the sense that teachers of law or anthropology in Europe have nothing to learn from their colleagues in other countries. The paper suggests that we need to reject parochialism in these three senses. Anthropology is par excellence a widely shared discipline.
Keywords: anthropology, legal anthropology, comparative law, international law, Africa, EU law, WTO law, China
JEL Classification: F13, K10, K32, K33, N45, N57, Q15
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