Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law


NUMBER 28 / 1989






FRANZ VON BENDA-BECKMANN (born in 1941 in Greifswald, Germany) is Professor of Agrarian Law in Developing Countries at the Agricultural University of Wageningen (Netherlands) and an associate editor of JLP. He studied law at the universities of München, Lausanne and Kiel. He received his Dr.iur. in 1970 from the University of Kiel with a dissertation on Rechtspluralismus in Malawi (München: Weltforum Verlag). In 1979 he received his Habilitation in Anthropology at the University of Zürich with a book entitled Property in Social Continuity: Continuity and Change in the Maintenance of Property Relationships through Time in Minangkabau (the Hague: Nijhoff). He has carried out field research in Malawi (1967- 68), West Sumatra (1974-75) and the Moluccas (1985-86). He has published numerous articles on African and Indonesian law, legal anthropology, and problems of legal pluralism and law and social change. He recently co-edited Between Kinship and the State: Social Security and Law in Developing Countries (Dordrecht: Foris, 1988).


PETER BURNS (born 1934 in Adelaide, Australia) is Senior Lecturer in Indonesian Studies at the James Cook University of North Queensland. He studied philosophy, English literature and Indonesian Studies at Melbourne University, graduating in 1965. From 1954 to 1970 he was a teacher in the service of the Victorian Education Department. He was lecturer in Indonesian Studies at the Bendigo Institute of Technology from 1971 to 1974 and received an appointment as lecturer at James Cook University in 1974. He has made frequent trips to Indonesia and Malaysia. He has written extensively on Indonesian affairs, in particular on issues of religion and religious freedom in Indonesia. He is an active member of Amnesty International with a special watching brief for Southeast Asia.


PETER HANSER (born in 1951 in Freiburg in Breisgau) studied sociology, ethnology and political sciences at the Universities of Freiburg i. Br. and Vienna. In 1978 he received his M.A. in sociology, and in 1984 he took his doctor’s degree in ethnology with a thesis on the causes of warfare in the tribal societies of New Guinea (Krieg und Recht. Wesen und Ursachen kollektiver Gewaltanwendung in den Stammesgesellschaften Neuguineas. Berlin, 1985). Since 1982 he is lecturer at the University of Freiburg. From 1984 to 1987 he was the head of the ASMAT Research Department at the University of Heidelberg. This appointment included field research with the ASMAT (Irian Jaya) in 1985. Besides legal anthropology his main interests lie on economic and political anthropology.


HELEEN IETSWAART is professor of sociology of law at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands. She has recently lived and worked in France for 10 years (including 4 years as a researcher at the Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques). She holds a J.S.D. from Yale Law School. She spent four years (1974-1978) engaged in teaching and research on law and sociology of law in Africa and Latin America, under the auspices of UNESCO. In recent years she has been doing research on the evolution of litigation patterns in French trial courts, on problems of court organization, and on problems of international socio-legal comparison. She is an associate editor of JLP and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Law and Society Review (book reviews).


SALLY ENGLE MERRY is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of JLP. She is the author of a book on urban crime, Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981), and of numerous articles on mediation and alternative dispute resolution, neighborhood social organization, working-class conceptions of law, and environmental design and social conflict. She has just completed a study of court use and legal consciousness, Getting Justice and Getting Even: Legal Consciousness among Working-Class Americans (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990). Her current work is on law and colonialism in the context of American imperialism. She recently contributed a review essay on ‘Legal pluralism’ to the Law and Society Review (22: 869-896, 1988).


JACQUES VANDERLINDEN is Professor of Legal History, Comparative Civil Law and African Law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He holds a Doctorate in Law and an Agrégation de l’Enseignement supérieur in Comparative Law and Legal History and has taught, among other places, in Zaire, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia. He is Secretary General of the Jean Bodin Society for Comparative Institutional and Legal History. His major publications include Le concept de Code en Europe occidentale du XIIIe au XIXe siècle (Brussels: Université Libre de Bruxelles, Editions de l’Institut de Sociologie, 1967), Coutumier Manuel et Jurisprudence du Droit zande (Brussels: Université Libre de Bruxelles, Editions de l’Institut de Sociologie, 1969), Introduction au Droit de l’Ethiopie moderne (Paris: Librarie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence R. Pichon et R. Durand-Auzias (Bibliotheque africaine et malagache), 1971), Les systèmes juridiques africains (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1983), and Introduction to Comparative Legal Method (forthcoming). He is editor of the annual Bibliography of African Law (1947-).


GORDON R. WOODMAN is an associate editor of JLP and a frequent contributor. He has taught law in Ghana, Nigeria, Britain and Papua New Guinea, and is currently Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Birmingham. He is President of the Commission on Folk Law and Legal Pluralism (1984-1990). He has written extensively on African law, customary law, legal pluralism, legal philosophy and other subjects. His recent writings include: ‘Land title registration without prejudice: the Ghana Land Title Registration Law, 1986,’ Journal of African Law 31: 119-135 (1987); (with B.W. Morse) ‘Introductory essay: the state’s options,’ pp. 5-24 in B.W. Morse and G.R. Woodman (eds.), Indigenous Law and the State (Dordrecht: Foris, 1988); ‘How state courts create customary law in Ghand and Nigeria,’ pp. 181-220 in id.; ‘Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria,’ No, E/20 in J. Gilissen (ed.), Bibliographical Introduction to Legal History and Ethnology (Brussels: Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1988); ‘The decline of folk-law social security in common-law Africa,’ pp. 69-88 in F. von Benda-Beckmann and others (eds.), Between Kinship and the State: Social Security and Law in Developing Countries (Dordrecht: Foris, 1988); ‘Unification or continuing pluralism in family law in Anglophone Africa: past experience, present realities, and future possibilities,’ Lesotho Law Journal 4(2): 33-79 (1988); ‘Conflict, agglomeration, integration and unification of the land tenure laws of Ghana,’ Yearbook of African Law (forthcoming); Customary Land Law in the Ghanaian Courts (Legon: Universities of Ghana Press, forthcoming). See issues 21 and 24 for further particulars.