Customary Law and Legal Pluralism in China

Zhu Xiaoyang (Beijing University) and Benjamin van Rooij (Leiden University) have convened a panel on customary law and legal pluralism in China at the 2008 ICAES Conference in Kunming. (15 - 23 July).

Here's the call for papers.
Interested scholars can email a 200 words abstract by October 31.

China is a blank spot in the legal pluralism literature. This is surprising given the fact that China is a society with complex interactions, both in the past and present, between centralist state and local non-state normative systems. China is interesting both for the state's ability to affect existing customary practices, as well as for the current resurgence of non-state normative systems since the 1978 reforms. The study of interactions between state and non-state normative systems has a long tradition in China and because of language and political barriers has developed largely autonomous of outside influences. Over the last years legal anthropology has become a vibrant field with series of books, journals and conferences. At the same time, since the reforms, foreign scholarship has increasingly been able to study local normative systems in China, however to a large extent without engaging with the legal pluralism literature from outside of China. All of this has developed largely unnoticed to non-Chinese legal pluralism scholarship. This panel seeks papers that help fill this gap. It seeks papers both from Chinese and non-Chinese scholars studying non-state normative systems and their interaction with state law. It seeks both case studies, as well as more theoretical papers addressing China's own ideas about customary law and legal pluralism as well as how the case of China and the Chinese approaches relate to existing ideas and concepts developed in the legal pluralism literature.

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