01 March 2012

NOTICE: Croce on Pluralism and the legal domain

Juris Diversitas member Mariano Croce will be speaking next week:
Centre for Ethnic Minority Studies (CEMS)
As part of the seminar series 2011 - 2012 CEMS presents

The power of defining: pluralism and the legal domain’
Dr Mariano Croce

Adjunct Professor, La Sapienza, University of Rome
Post-doctoral Researcher, SOAS,

Chair Prof. Werner Menski

7 pm – 8.30p.m.
Thursday, 8th March 2012

Room G50
SOAS main building,
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square,
London WC1H OXG

All are most welcome – no booking required
For further information please email sq1@soas.ac.uk

The author will canvass the idea that there is no normative difference between state law and other kinds of law, such as customary law or religious law, and that eventually there is not a clear dividing line between the various normative fields of social reality (from interactions of everyday life to legal activities). More precisely, he will explain why some scholars (and above all some of those who belong to what today is known as ‘legal pluralism’) deem the traditional distinction between legal rules and other social rules either as an abstractive construal of monist state-centred theories, or else as a factual consequence of contingent socio-political arrangements. Legal pluralists forcefully argue that, at present, an increasing plurality of normative orders makes the distinction between the legal and the extralegal outdated and urge legal theorists to dispose once and for all of the fictitious idea that law is something separate from ordinary life. In reality, they conclude, the legal and the broader social are so intertwined that no distinctive line among good manners, religious precepts, and positive legal rules can be drawn. The author will contend that, while arguing so, legal pluralists should also be able to take the pragmatic bearings of their conceptual proposals into due
account and thus to pay due heed to what is involved in expanding the domain of the legal. In fact, what is at stake here is neither a mere clarification of the meaning of law nor a better understanding of a familiar institution. Rather, what is at stake is the stock of symbolic power that is inevitably linked to the term ‘law’. Enlarging the domain of the legal, as the author will argue, always involves a re-allocation of power and legitimacy. Defining something as law, and, more in general, defining something as something entails the power to say what must be included and what excluded, what belongs to a genus and what does not, what should be recognised as having certain prerogatives and prior claims and what should not.

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