Law and culture: meaningful legal pluralism in the Pacific and beyond

30 August 2010, Vanuatu

The question of how to make law operate effectively whilst remaining culturally appropriate is critical for all Pacific islands.

In the Pacific, where much law is now made by local Parliaments we are moving beyond the immediately post-colonial discourse of law as —imposed by foreigners— but the position of State law within society is still not clearly situated. The uneasy relationship between law and culture is giving rise to a number of pressing contemporary issues so a conference on this topic is very timely.

Internationally the recognition (that may/should be) given to indigenous peoples by State law is evolving, particularly following the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, so the issues facing Pacific islands have global resonance.

The issues that this conference topic give rise to are not strictly legal. Legal pluralism is a topic that is inherently interdisciplinary, and developing —meaningful legal pluralism— requires conversations across a range of disciplines. Pacific scholars from other subject areas, including anthropology, development studies, governance and political studies are encouraged to attend this conference.

As the conference organizers are committed to the development of young Pacific scholars, students and early career researchers from a range of disciplines are particularly encouraged to participate.