Legal anthropology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course is aimed at providing students with the conceptual and methodological tools of anthropology of law, in order to develop the skills to critically analyze from a non-dogmatic perspective the complex relationship between law and culture. Special attention will be paid to the complexity and changes in the world of law related to cultural diversity, to legal pluralism, and to the different ways of understanding law and rights, especially with regard to the European context.
Expected learning outcomes
- the knowledge of the fundamental concepts and the research methods of legal anthropology;
- the ability to apply the skills acquired during this course to the analysis of legal phenomena;
- the acquisition of a high capacity for understanding and critical analysis of the covered topics
- the ability to use the acquired knowledge with argumentative consistency and an adequate command of the legal-anthropological technical terminology;
- the ability to undertake, in an autonomous way, in-depth studies concerning the relations between law and cultural diversity by making use of a method that should combine theoretical reflection and critical observation.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for the academic year 2021/2022 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The course aims to introduce students to the anthropological study of law, analysing both the main theories and fundamental concepts, as well as some fields of research. Main topics:
- Culture and law
- Anthropologists and jurists at the origin of legal anthropology
- Anthropology and the definition of law
- Anthropology, colonization and legal acculturation
- Legal pluralism: concept, theories and fields of research
- Anthropology and human rights: from the 1947 Statement of Human Rights to the 1999 Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights
- The contribution of non-Western traditions and countries to human rights law
- Multicultural society, normative pluralism and rights
- The role of legal professionals in multicultural societies
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is required.
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons, class discussion, seminars. PowerPoint slides will be uploaded on the Ariel platform.
Teaching Resources
Attending students:
- L. Mancini, Introduzione all'antropologia giuridica, new edition G. Giappichelli Editore, Torino (the book will be available before the course starts).
- Student's notes, slides, and material provided during the course.

Non-attending students:
The course material includes an introductory volume to legal anthropology and some writings that deepen some theories and issues of the volume, i.e. the theory of E.A. Hoebel, one of the founders of modern legal anthropology; the concept of legal acculturation and its effects in the African context; the relationship between rights and cultures; the concept of cultural defense and its application in contemporary societies:
- L. Mancini, Introduzione all'antropologia giuridica, new edition G. Giappichelli Editore, Torino (the text will be available before the course starts).
The following essays (available on the Ariel platform):
- A.E. Hoebel, "Il fondamento culturale del diritto", "Concetti giuridici fondamentali nella loro applicazione allo studio del diritto primitivo", in A.E. Hoebel, Il diritto nelle società primitive. Uno studio comparato sulla dinamica dei fenomeni giuridici, Il Mulino, Bologna 1973 (47 pp.);
- N. Rouland, "L'acculturazione giuridica", in N. Rouland, Antropologia giuridica, Giuffrè, Milano 1992 (45 pp.);
- S. Engle Merry, "Le norme per la protezione dei diritti umani e la demonizzazione della cultura (passando per l'antropologia)", in Diritti e culture. Un'antologia critica, edited by R. Cammarata, L. Mancini, P. Tincani, Giappichelli, Torino 2014 (19 pp.);
- A. Dundes Renteln, "Cultural defense. Il paradigma monoculturale messo in discussione", in Diritto, traduzioni, tradizioni. La tutela dei diritti nelle società multiculturali, edited by T. Mazzarese, G. Giappichelli, Torino 2013 (30 pp.).

Erasmus Students: Specific material may be provided if required.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attending students: The evaluation will take into account both active participation during the course and the final oral exam that will cover the content of the lessons and the suggested texts. The requirement to be considered as attending students is taking part in at least 70% of class (maximum score: 30\30 cum laude).
Non-attending students: Student performance will be assessed through a final oral exam (maximum score: 30\30 cum laude).

The evaluation criteria will consider the knowledge of the fundamental issues of the legal anthropology, the skills of critical analysis and the clarity of exposition.
IUS/20 - PHILOSOPHY OF LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Mancini Letizia
Educational website(s)
In the first semester, the reception will take place in person or on MTeams ( syd99y3) on Tuesdays at 10, by appointment via email:
Dipartimento 'Cesare Beccaria', MTeams