Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Mobilizing Abstraction: Observing Legal Form from the Margins of the State  
Nomaan Hasan (Brown University)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on fieldwork with legal volunteers among minority communities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, this paper focuses on abstraction as a feature of legal form to understand why those marginalized by the state take recourse to the law to pursue their claims.

Paper long abstract:

At a moment of escalating violence against religious and caste minorities in India, civil society organizations working in the arena of legal policy are increasingly directing their efforts towards conducting 'capacity-building exercises'. The objective of these programs is to impart legal awareness and provide practical training to selected members of marginalized groups, enabling them to act as legal intercessors for their communities. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork among graduates of one such program in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh as they attempt to put into practice their incipient expertise, engaging with the law through routine activities such as filing complaints and pursuing entitlements. Anthropological scholarship often inhabits an interval between law and the social, exposing their disjuncture to reveal the distorted and lethal ways law gets translated into everyday life. While several authors aim to interrupt legal discourse by showing how it is predicated on an impoverished understanding of the social, I approach the issue from a contrasting vantage point to understand how marginalized groups strive to bridge this interval and make the law intelligible to their milieux. Focusing on abstraction as a feature of legal form, I trace how law gets absorbed in everyday life as the intercessors seek to prepare their communities for encounters with local law enforcement. Building on recent work in postcolonial thought, queer theory, and contemporary art practice, I propose that the abstraction of law emerges as a resource for those on the margins unable to transparently represent themselves.

Panel P120b
Legal Worlds; Worlding Law
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -