This panel proposes moving from the anthropology of Islamic law to the anthropology of law in Islamic contexts (including settings where Muslims are in a minority). We are interested in ethnographic studies in situations where the property regime may give rise to ambiguities and uncertainty.
With the exception of the study of Islamic law per se, the broader study of the law and legal institutions in Islamic contexts has been neglected. A wide range of areas has been under-researched. As a result, accounts of the law and justice in Muslim contexts often suffer over-simplification and analytical weaknesses. The alleged importance of Islam may be all too often over-stated, both in academic circles and political circles, where parties or groups demand the application of "Islamic law".
Yet it is essential to study the law in these contexts (and beyond) with a view to understanding the range of factors that the law projects, creates and constitutes, as well as taking into account the practices within which the creation, administration, application and experience of the law exist.
In response to these concerns, this panel proposes moving from the anthropology of Islamic law to the anthropology of law in Islamic contexts. We are especially interested in ethnographic studies of property, contracts and property transmission in situations where the property regime itself may give rise to ambiguities and uncertainty, e.g. because of legal pluralism, or where wider social, economic and political change increases the pressure on property regimes to resolve actors' experiences of uncertainty. The panel will bring together ethnographically-grounded papers from different Muslim societies which may address issues including, but not restricted to: the co-existence of secular and religious property regimes; the creation of new property categories; the survival and/or transformation of longstanding property categories in new settings; etc.