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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Law, Anthropology and the Constitution of the Social

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Martha MundyLondon School of Economics and Political Science

ISBN13: 9780521831789
ISBN: 0521831784
Published: December 2005
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £84.99
Paperback edition price on application, ISBN13 9780521539456

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This collection of interdisciplinary essays explores how persons and things - the central elements of the social - are fabricated by legal rituals and institutions. The contributors, legal and anthropological theorists alike, focus on a set of specific institutional and ethnographic contexts, and some unexpected and thought-provoking analogies emerge from this intellectual encounter between law and anthropology. For example, contemporary anxieties about the legal status of the biotechnological body seem to resonate with the questions addressed by ancient Roman law in its treatment of dead bodies. The analogy between copyright and the transmission of intangible designs in Melanesia suddenly makes western images of authorship seem quite unfamiliar. A comparison between law and laboratory science presents the production of legal artefacts in new light. These studies are of particular relevance at a time when law, faced with the inventiveness of biotechnology, finds it increasingly difficult to draw the line between persons and things.

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Notes on contributors
1. Introduction: the fabrication of persons and things Alain Pottage
2. Res Religiosae: on the categories of religion and commerce in Roman law Yan Thomas
3. Scientific objects and legal objectivity Bruno Latour
4. Legal fabrications and the case of 'cultural property' Tim Murphy
5. Ownership or office? A debate in Islamic Hanafite jurisprudence over the nature of the military 'fief', from the Mamluks to the Ottomans Martha Mundy
6. Gedik: a bundle of rights and obligations for Istanbul artisans and traders, 1750-1850 Engin Deniz Akarli
7. Losing (out on) intellectual resources Marilyn Strathern
8. Re-visualising attachment: an anthropological perspective on persons and property forms Susanne Kuchler
9. Our original inheritance Alain Pottage