Previous Chapter Chapter 31: Law and Anthropology Next Chapter

Oliver W. Lembcke

In: 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 31: Law and Anthropology

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Law and Anthropology
Law and anthropology

Law is a cultural achievement of humankind. On the basis of rules that are typically connected with sanctions, it is meant to prevent or overcome social conflicts. The nature of these rules can generally be distinguished by their purpose: They either serve the purpose of deciding legal cases (rules of decision) or the purpose of conducting a legal process (rules of conduct). The foundation of the rules, too, can vary. Some legal cultures base their rules on (unwritten) traditions (common law), usually replenished with precedents of case decisions by the judge's dispensation of justice (case law). In contemporary legal systems, however, the foundation of legal decisions is above all provided by the state legislature (statutory law). In modern judicial terms, ...

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