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Law and Liberation

Critical Notes on Agamben’s Political Messianism

Jayne Svenungsson

that in one respect Agamben does repeat a typical supersessionist gesture, namely in pitting law against grace and thereby counterposing law to liberation. In so doing, Agamben not only fails to do justice to an essential element in Jewish conceptions

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Raphael Cohen-Almagor

This article examines the tension between liberalism and Orthodoxy in Israel as it relates to censorship. The first section aims to explain Israel's vulnerability as a multicultural democracy in a hostile region, with significant schisms that divide the nation. The next section presents the dilemma: should Israel employ legal mechanisms to counter hate speech and racism? The third section details the legal framework, while the fourth reviews recent cases in which political radicals were prosecuted for incitement to racism. The final section discusses cases in which football supporters were charged with incitement after chanting “Death to Arabs“ during matches. I argue that the state should consider the costs and risks of allowing hate speech and balance these against the costs and risks to democracy and free speech that are associated with censorship.

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William A. Quinn

…incerto tempore ferme incertisque locis spatio depellere paulum [at random times and places they shift a bit] Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (II, 218–219) Chaucer’s ‘The Man of Law’s Tale’ is strange. In the Riverside edition, Larry D. Benson

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Inside and Outside the law

Negotiated Being and Urban Jouissance in the Streets of Beirut

Ghassan Hage

of what gives Lebanon’s periodic civil wars their particularly chaotic form. “Shoo hal fawda b’hal balad!” (What a chaotic nation this is!), “Ma fi nazam b’hal balad!” (There is no law and order in this nation!), and “Ma fi dawleh!” (There is no state

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Niki Megalommati

. Available sources—imperial law, histories and chronicles, hagiographies, and archival documents—were written mainly by males; female-authored texts are rare in Byzantine literature. Social stratification also operates against attempts to create a consistent

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Life at a Tangent to Law

Regulations, ‘Mistakes’ and Personhood amongst Kigali’s Motari

Will Rollason

stupidity. Thus, André could be seen as resisting legality, trying to avoid the problems of visibility and legibility ( Scott 1998 ) that the law imposes and the risk of serious difficulties that it might entail. In Rwandan studies, such accounts of people

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Timo Pankakoski and Antto Vihma

Fragmentation has become a key concept in the analysis of international law and global governance in recent years. For many, fragmentation has both positive and negative aspects, but scholars are divided over which aspect is predominant. The

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Law in Theory, Law in Practice

Legal Orientalism and French Jesuit Knowledge Production in India

Danna Agmon

Letters written by early modern missionaries played an important role in the development of global intellectual networks and inquiry into religion, language, cartography, and science. But the historical ethnography of law has not recognized the role that Jesuits played in creating the field of comparative law. This article examines the writings on law in India by the French Jesuit Jean-Venant Bouchet, who was an important source for Enlightenment philosophes and later Orientalists. It considers Bouchet’s systemic accounts of Indian law alongside his more ethnographic description of his legal encounters in South India, and argues that the practice of conversion and experiences in local legal fora determined and shaped Bouchet’s interpretation of Indian law. In other words, legal scholarship was produced in spiritual, religious, and political contexts, and cannot be abstracted from them.

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"You’re a Trickster”

Mockery, Egalitarianism, and Uncertainty in Northeastern Namibia

Megan Laws

The trickster has held a prominent place in the study of folklore, as much as it has been central to anthropological understandings of egalitarianism. In both, the trickster embodies an insoluble tension between the repressed, amoral desires of the individual and the moral demands of social life. This tension, so it goes, is visible in the ambiguity of the figure—a protean indeterminate being, neither good nor bad. Among the Jú|’hoànsi of northeastern Namibia, the trickster is similarly ambiguous. The figure conveys not a clash of values, but rather the doubt and uncertainty people feel toward those with whom they share resources, or about different ways of sharing and how they might relate to one another. This article approaches such uncertainty through a focus on the mocking phrase “you’re a trickster” and the moral discourses that accompany it.

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Identity and Traditional Law

Local Legal Conceptions in Svan Villages, Georgia

Stéphane Voell, Natia Jalabadze, Lavrenti Janiashvili, and Elke Kamm

Traditional law continues to be relevant for the Svans (Georgians), who usually live in the highlands of the Caucasus, but who have also migrated to various parts of Georgia. To grasp its practice we draw on approaches in which its use is discussed as a strategy for '(re)asserting collective identities' (Benda-Beckmann) in order to enforce specific goals. But our research also shows another dimension of traditional law: more than in actual conflict resolutions, traditional law is found in narratives, that is in memories of how conflicts were resolved earlier and should be solved today. These stories, however, of how and when traditional law should be applied rarely correspond to lived reality. Drawing on Brubaker and Cooper, we argue that beside a rather instrumental motivated use of traditional law in asserting collective identities, its contemporary practice can only be fully understood if we also acknowledge its non-instrumental practice.