Legal Anthropology


Law and Anthropology is a cross-disciplinary academic field between law and anthropology. For a legal researcher, how to apply the anthropological knowledge and methods to the legal investigation is the most important job. Anthropology is aimed to investigate the "others", to find the feeling of the indigence and to understand the meaning of their life. For an anthropologist, long time fieldwork and participatory observation are the basic demands. Anthropology pays attention to the interpretation, the narrative experience and the writings of the ethnography.

Both the anthropologist and the legalist, they both prefer studying cases. They often use extended case study method, which means the study will take the past time, space, causality and consequence into account. Most anthropologists are inclined to study orders of indigent villages, such as their settlement of disputes, their mechanism of penalty and social control, etc., while the legalists tend to study law directly, including the statutes and the court judgments, and investigate the process and effect of the law in the society.

More and more anthropologists and legalists have begun to have dialogue and to cooperate with each other. This communication has strengthened the scholarly observation of how people apply the law, and the understanding of how people cognize the law. More researches of Law and Anthropology will certainly help enhance the social impact and forecasting capability of the policymaking.




Research Group

Chen, Baifeng (link)

Hou, Meng (link)

Lin, Duan (link)

Shen, Wei (link)

Wang, Qiliang (link)