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Folk Law
Essays in the Theory and Practice of Lex Non Scripta
Edited by Alison Dundes Renteln and Alan Dundes
[Two Volume Set]

"A prodigious effort. The editors, one a specialist in jurisprudence and the other a folklorist, have collected fifty-eight essays previously published in a wide range of places.... Their product is must reading for students of law, particularly those interested in comparative politics and law."

In every culture there exists unwritten law—obligations and prohibitions that are understood and passed on, and transgressions that are punished. Folk Law, a comprehensive two-volume collection of essays, examines this meeting place of folklore and jurisprudence. The contributors explore the historical significance and implications of folk law, its continuing influence around the globe, and the conflicts that arise when folk law diverges from official law.

The collection begins by defining various forms of "folk law," drawing on examples from many cultures. The second section provides historical profiles of pioneering figures in the study of folk law. Following sections examine field research techniques used to identify folk laws; aspects of folk law within the realm of rituals, songs, and other forms of expressive culture; instances where folk law comes into conflict with national law, and the role of folk law in the international arena. The volumes also include description and analysis of two approaches to folk law—the rule approach, in which scholars dissect the codes that underlie folk law, and the case approach, in which researchers examine specific cases involving folk law.

Valuable for students and scholars of law, folklore, or anthropology, this extensive casebook marks a rare interdisciplinary approach to two important areas of research.

Alison Dundes Renteln is professor of political science at the University of Southern California. She is the author of International Human Rights: Universalism versus Relativism.

Alan Dundes (1934–2005) was professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, Berkeley, and published ten books with the University of Wisconsin Press, including Parsing Through Customs: Essays by a Freudian Folklorist; The Vampire: A Casebook; The Blood Libel Legend; and Cinderella: A Casebook.He was also the editor of Recollecting Freud by Isidor Sadger.

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the cover of volume 1 of Folk Law is in tones of purple and lavender. The illustration is of a vulture, a snapping turtle and a jackass in human clothing. They seem to be in a lawyers' office.

September 1995

LC: 94-000812 K
1037 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $49.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-14344-2
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