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Justice in the Himalayas: Local Expectations and Legal Interventions

Consensus and harmony or balance and reciprocity?

Fernanda Pirie
24 June 2014

Two case studies from the Tibetan region indicate that these may be distinct ideals, associated with different forms of social organisation. Reactions to government interventions, laws, and objective standards bring local expectations into focus, here illustrated by tensions arising from the introduction of representative democracy in the Tibetan areas of India and by attempts to control conflict amongst Tibetan nomads in China through criminal laws and punishments. This lecture asked about the broader implications for legal interventions and the formulation of different models of law and governance.

Dr Fernanda Pirie is director of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. Having previously worked as a barrister, she is an anthropologist now, specialising in the study of legal processes in the Tibetan region . She has carried out fieldwork on the Tibetan plateau for over a decade, both in Ladakh (in northern India) and among the nomadic people of Amdo (in China’s Qinghai and Gansu provinces). Her studies have centered on conflict resolution, social order, constructions of community and tribe-state relations and have lead to publications on violence, conflict, order and disorder.

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