(2011) JLP 64: 173-202
The Jubilee Congress of the Commission on Legal Pluralism took place at the University of Cape Town in September 2011, and celebrated thirty years of the Commission’s role in understanding legal pluralism worldwide. Members have engaged in many debates over what constitutes legal pluralism and how it is to be perceived. From its inception in 1981, in Bellagio, Italy there was heated discussion about what to call law other than state law and how to identify its characteristics. Such debates continue today, and this paper highlights some arenas in which contestations over law and legal pluralism have particular salience. It highlights a number of domains in which the highly mobile and contingent nature of law is revealed, through the ways in which law is spatialized, representing multi-faceted dimensions of legal pluralism that are constantly in the making. Such a vision is at odds with the more traditional views of legal pluralism that are framed in terms of a state centred paradigm.