Does anthropology matter to law? At first sight, this question might
seem redundant: of course, anthropology matters to law, and it does so a
great deal. Anthropologists have made important contributions to legal
debates. Legal anthropology is a thriving sub-discipline, encompassing
an ever-increasing range of topics, from long-standing concerns with
customary law and legal culture to areas that have historically been left
to lawyers, including corporate law and financial regulation. Anthropology’s
relevance to law is also reflected in the world of legal practice.
Some anthropologists act as cultural experts in, while others have challenged
the workings of, particular legal regimes, including with respect
to immigration law and social welfare.