24 May 2010

CALL FOR PAPERS: 'Law and Culture: Meaningful Legal Pluralism in the Pacific and Beyond'

A conference on 'Law and Culture: Meaningful Legal Pluralism in the Pacific and Beyond' will be hosted by the USP School of Law, Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 30 August-1 September 2010.

The Call for Papers and Posters reads:

The question of how to make law operate effectively whilst remaining culturally appropriate is critical for all Pacific islands.

In the Pacific, where much law is now made by local Parliaments we are moving beyond the immediately post-colonial discourse of law as “imposed by foreigners” but the position of State law within society is still not clearly situated. The uneasy relationship between law and culture is giving rise to a number of pressing contemporary issues so a conference on this topic is very timely.

These issues are shared by many post-colonial States. Internationally the recognition (that may/should be) given to indigenous peoples by State law is evolving, particularly following the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, so the issues facing Pacific islands have global resonance.

The issues that this conference gives rise to are not only legal. Legal pluralism is a topic that is inherently interdisciplinary, and developing “meaningful legal pluralism” requires conversations across a range of disciplines. Pacific scholars from other subject areas, including anthropology, development studies, governance and political studies are encouraged to attend this conference.

Papers and posters that explore any aspect of the relationship between State law and other norms that may regulate society, including customary law, are welcome. Some potential areas are listed below:

• The relationship between human rights and custom
• State dispute resolution and customary dispute resolution and governance
• The interaction between State environmental regulation and customary control of the environment
• Customary land tenure and development
• Informal institutions that govern business practice and their relationship with State law

These areas are only examples, and are not intended to place limits on the subjects discussed at the conference.

As the conference organizers are committed to the development of young Pacific scholars, students and early career researchers from a range of disciplines are particularly encouraged to participate.

Abstracts are due by 25 June 2010.

For further information, including information on how to submit, and presentation and poster guidelines see the conference website http://www.paclii.org/law-and-culture/.

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