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Globalization and the Decline of Legal Consciousness:Torts,Ghosts and Karma in Thailand

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【作者】David M. Engel

【内容提要】

This study analyzes the transformation of legal consciousness associated with the process of globalization. It examines changing conceptions of injury and compensation in northern Thailand, where global economic and cultural flows have had a dramatic impact over the past twenty years. In their “ injury narratives,” ordinary Thai people describe the harm they have suffered, the causes they identify, the issues of responsibility with which they struggle, the obligations and remedy systems they consider relevant, and the role of law as they perceive it. These accounts, as wellas litigation recurds from the Chiangmai Provincial Court, suggest that a transformation of Thai legal consciousness has indeed occurred, but not in the direction one might have expected. Rather than embracing liberal legalism or conceptualizing their grievances in terms of rights, injury victims in post-globalization Thailand are now less inclined to perceive their experiences in legal terms and more inclined to rely on a new furm of religious discourse in which Buddhist precepts justify the injured person’s decision to refrain from the pursuit of compemation. This article offers an explanation of why globalization appears to have pushed legal consciousness in the direction of religiosity rather than rights. 

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