20 October 2014

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Commission on Legal Pluralism Conference 14-16 December 2015

Call for panel and roundtable proposals
Mumbai Conference 2015
Location: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay
Dates: 14-16 December 2015

In the last decades legal pluralism as a field of research and study has matured across different disciplines and inter-disciplinary areas including law and legal studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, geography, history, and development studies. The concept of legal pluralism has also gained credence in ‘area studies’ domains such as Southeast Asian, Latin American and African studies. Debates on policies, legal and constitutional changes, and development pathways also engage with the notion of legal pluralism in diverse ways, as do social movements and struggles of various kinds.

Taking stock of these developments, the international Commission on Legal Pluralism is organizing its next biennial conference in South Asia.

The 2015 international conference will pay particular attention to emerging areas that have gained in momentum due to processes of globalization, the emergence of ‘knowledge economies’, and the evolution of high-tech capitalism. Not surprisingly, debates and evolving policies on information technology, biotechnology, genetic engineering and intellectual property rights are forced to deal with issues of legal pluralism, perceiving the danger that high-technology regimes may further exacerbate socio-economic inequalities and further marginalize the already disadvantaged, especially in developing societies and ‘emerging economies’. The conference will also address established themes that continue to cause significant concern, such as conflicts and contestations over property, land and natural resources; governance; religion, culture, custom and ethnicity; state and non-state laws; gender; kinship; patriarchy; human rights; development aid and cooperation; as well as migration; mobility; and transnationalism, while exploring how emerging and ‘old’ themes in the field of legal pluralism relate to each other in theory and practice.

The neoliberal turn in contemporary patterns of economic transformation and globalization has generated new debates regarding norms, the capacity to evolve, deploy and resist normative regimes, and new forms of normative interfaces. Attention to these areas brings legal pluralism research into the hitherto neglected territorial domain of urban nodes of capital and knowledge flows. New forms of regulation, surveillance, and the ironic and contradictory implications of transparency, accountability and participation all interact with existing social structures to offer interesting problems for scholars of legal pluralism. The use of social media in recent social and political movements around the world also offers rich scope for understanding such linkages and interactions.

At the same time, the increasing ‘noise’ around indigenous, alternative, or southern perspectives in social sciences and humanities has generated new approaches in theory and practice to themes such as law, ethics, norms and values, governance and ideas of order. These have found wide resonance in debates and struggles on issues related to development visions, resource expropriation, economic growth, and technological models.

The conference organizers invite scholars and practitioners to present contemporary work on these and related themes to the 2015 Conference. It is hoped that this event will offer a dynamic and vibrant space for a further expansion of such perspectives in debating issues and problems of legal pluralism.

Call for panel proposals

We request interested parties to submit proposals for panels in the 2015 Mumbai conference. The panels proposed may be partly or fully ‘populated’ (including names of at least 3-4 presenters and titles of papers per panel) or ‘empty’ (without names of paper presenters). A proposal should include (a) a title (max 10 words), (b) name of panel organizer, (c) email address of panel organizer, and (d) a panel description of not more than 200 words. If the panel is populated, the proposal should also have (e) a list of presenters and – preferably – the titles of their papers or contributions.

Call for roundtable discussions between practitioners and scholars

In addition to academic presentations, the Commission on Legal Pluralism is eager to involve practitioners working in settings of legal pluralism. Practitioners frequently struggle to deal with the problems of normative difference and the power games that support dominant parties, while scholarly debates often address those same concerns.

Roundtable discussions will be divided in two sessions. In the first session, a practitioner will present on the topic of discussion and pose a number of key questions to a responding scholar, which is followed by a plenary discussion with those attending the roundtable. During the second session, a scholar will present on the same topic and pose a number of key questions to a responding practitioner, which will again be followed by a plenary discussion. Those proposing a roundtable discussion will act as moderators of the discussion and will be responsible for the identification and selection of the speakers and the participants (min 4 and max 20 persons).

We welcome roundtable discussion proposals on specific topics such as gender, indigenous peoples, religion, land and property, exploitation of natural resources, family law, etc. Proposals should include (a) the name of the organizer, (b) her/his e-mail address, (c) the title of the discussion, and (d) a description of max. 200 words. The names of the presenters can be submitted at a later stage.


Please send your proposals for panel and roundtable discussions to Waheeda Amien (Waheeda.Amien@uct.ac.za) and D. Parthasarathy (dp@hss.iitb.ac.in) by no later than November 30th, 2014.

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