Working Paper 33

Governing Laws - on the Appropriation and Adaptation of Control in Mumbai

Julia Eckert

Projektgruppe Rechtspluralismus

Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Working Paper 33

Studies of legal pluralism have stressed how the rules operative in different semi-autonomous social fields are constituted by the interaction, mutual influence and situational use of state and non-state legal orders. Often, however, state law is treated not as semi-autonomous but (implicitly) as autonomous, as shaping but not as being shaped. The topic of this paper is how various actors involved in the field of conflict regulation, such as different state agencies, community organisations, NGOs, commercial (legal and illegal) enterprises etc. define legal institutions in their practices and thus shape an operative legal order. The organisations that are involved in governmental roles, be they administrative, charitable, judicial or others, are intent on "capturing the state" and having their version of law endorsed by state agencies. They transform state law - by entering the "unnamed law" generated in their operations into state practices rather than into legislation. My focus is on the practices of the Shivsena, a regional political party of the Hindu Right. The interactions of the Shivsena with state agencies show how the "unnamed law" generated in the organisation's regulatory and judicial practices is introduced into the practices of state agencies. However, the party's generation of rules and regulations is intricately shaped by its competition with other organisations involved in the field of conflict regulation. And this competition is in itself again structured by law, in this case by the procedural rules of democracy. Thus the generation of an operative legal order sways between domination and adaptation, between homogenisation and pluralisation.

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