The presenter argues in favour of an anthropological approach to global legal history. This means considering law as a social and historical phenomenon and approaching cases, examples, historical practices, and texts on their own terms. It means asking about people and context, about who makes laws and why, and teasing out what is distinctive among them. This type of enquiry leads to textual traditions with authors, readers, and translators and to explicit rules, which are pronounced, understood, copied, and applied. Turning to some early examples of written law, the presenter seeks to show how consideration and comparison of such cases can help to clarify what law is as a social phenomenon, who makes it and why, how it develops, and its relations with power, as well as the surprising recurrence of dynamics of the rule of law.
Source: https://www.lhlt.mpg.de/events/30979/2078412 (7.7.2022)