From Caliban to CARICOM: Encountering Legality in the Caribbean Mindie Lazarus-Black. Legitimate Acts and Illegal Encounters: Law and Society in Antigua and Barbuda. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994. Pp. 357. $49.00 cloth; $24.95 paper.
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From Caliban to CARICOM: Encountering Legality in the Caribbean Mindie Lazarus-Black. Legitimate Acts and Illegal Encounters: Law and Society in Antigua and Barbuda. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994. Pp. 357. $49.00 cloth; $24.95 paper.

Abstract

Until recently, research in sociolegal studies has tended to ignore the Caribbean region. Sociolegal scholars may have assumed that the Carib, bean, like other places outside the United States, more properly deserved the attention of anthropologists than themselves-after all, "they" have "custom" while "we" have "law."1 Or, assuming that the colonial project represented an encounter between competing legal systems, sociolegal scholars may have left such studies to anthropologists interested in legal pluralism. 2 Caribbeanist anthropologists, who have tended to neglect legal processes in the region, may have assumed that the effects of law in Caribbean societies were self,evident: that slave era law helped maintain the plantation system, that indenture law ensured a pliant labor force after slavery ended, and that law in the colonial and decolonizing Caribbean simply did what its ideology claims it does by mediating disputes, administering justice, and governing populations. 3 Or they may have considered law to be a concern of Caribbean elites or colonial officials, not the stuff of popular class social and cultural life, and hence unworthy of the "thick description" that animates Caribbean village ethnography.

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