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This is the second of two volumes announcing the emergence of the new legal realism. At a time when the legal academy is turning to social science for new approaches, these volumes chart a new course for interdisciplinary research by synthesizing law on the ground, empirical research, and theory. Volume 2 explores the integration of global perspectives and information into our understanding of law. Increasingly, local experiences of law are informed by broader interactions of national, international, and global law. Lawyers, judges, and other legal actors often have to respond to these broader contexts, while those pursuing justice in various global contexts must wrestle with the specific problems of translation that emerge when different concepts of law and local circumstances interact. Using empirical research, the authors in this path-breaking volume shed light on current developments in law at a global level.
Post-1994, South Africa's traditional leaders have fought for recognition, and positioned themselves as major players in the South African political landscape. Yet their role in a democracy is contested, with leaders often accused of abusing power, disregarding human rights, expropriating resources and promoting tribalism. Some argue that democracy and traditional leadership are irredeemably opposed and cannot co-exist. Meanwhile, shifts in the political economy of the former bantustans − the introduction of platinum mining in particular − have attracted new interests and conflicts to these areas, with chiefs often designated as custodians of community interests. This edited volume explores how chieftancy is practised, experienced and contested in contemporary South Africa. It includes case studies of how those living under the authority of chiefs, in a modern democracy, negotiate or resist this authority in their respective areas. Chapters in this book are organised around three major sites of contest: leadership, land and law.
For most people in rural South Africa, traditional justice mechanisms provide the only feasible means of accessing any form of justice. These mechanisms are popularly associated with restorative justice, reconciliation and harmony in rural communities. Yet, this ethnographic study grounded in the political economy of rural South Africa reveals how historical conditions and contemporary pressures have strained these mechanisms’ ability to deliver the high normative ideals with which they are notionally linked. In places such as Msinga access to justice is made especially precarious by the reality that human insecurity – a composite of physical, social and material insecurity – is high for both ordinary people and the authorities who staff local justice forums; cooperation is low between traditional justice mechanisms and the criminal and social justice mechanisms the state is meant to provide; and competition from purportedly more effective ‘twilight institutions’, like vigilante associations, is rife. Further contradictions are presented by profoundly gendered social relations premised on delicate social trust that is closely monitored by one’s community and enforced through self-help measures like witchcraft accusations in a context in which violence is, culturally and practically, a highly plausible strategy for dispute management. These contextual considerations compel us to ask what justice we can reasonably speak of access to in such an insecure context and what solutions are viable under such volatile human conditions? The book concludes with a vision for access to justice in rural South Africa that takes seriously ordinary people’s circumstances and traditional authorities’ lived experiences as documented in this detailed study. The author proposes a cooperative governance model that would maximise the resources and capacity of both traditional and state justice apparatus for delivering the legal and social justice – namely, peace and protection from violence as well as mitigation of poverty and destitution – that rural people genuinely need.
Building on extensive fieldwork in China and Indonesia, Hurst offers a valuable comparison of legal systems in practice.
This book explains why international criminal tribunals struggle to monitor inciting speech, and proposes a model of prevention and punishment.
Now in its second edition, this textbook presents a critical rethinking of the study of comparative law and legal theory in a globalising world, and proposes an alternative model. It highlights the inadequacies of current Western theoretical approaches in comparative law, international law, legal theory and jurisprudence, especially for studying Asian and African laws, arguing that they are too parochial and eurocentric to meet global challenges. Menski argues for combining modern natural law theories with positivist and socio-legal traditions, building an interactive, triangular concept of legal pluralism. Advocated as the fourth major approach to legal theory, this model is applied in analysing the historical and conceptual development of Hindu law, Muslim law, African laws and Chinese law.

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