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Opinio juris as epistème: A constructivist approach to the use of contested concepts in legal doctrine

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Opinio juris, Interpretive concepts, Customary law, Constructivism, Pierre Bourdieu, Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann
Auteurs Associate Professor Olaf Tans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Seeing that the role of opinio juris in the identification of customary international law is essentially contested, this contribution seeks to explain how this concept plays a fruitful role in legal doctrine despite of, or perhaps even due to, this essential contestedness. To that effect the paper adopts a constructivist perspective, primarily drawing from Bourdieu’s theory of practice and Berger & Luckmann’s ideas about institutionalization. In this perspective, contested concepts such as opinio juris are conceived of as multifaceted tools of knowledge production in the hands of members of epistemic communities.


Associate Professor Olaf Tans
Olaf Tans works as legal philosopher and political scientist at Amsterdam University College and the Centre for the Politics of Transnational Law. His contribution to this special issue is part of a research line focusing on the social construction of normativity in legal doctrine. He has also published about constitutionalism, citizenship, democracy, and most recently (e.g. in Ratio Juris and Law & Literature) about the use of foundational narratives in public deliberation and law-finding.
Artikel

Autonomy of law in Indonesia

Tijdschrift Recht der Werkelijkheid, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden Rule of law, Indonesia, Socio-legal studies, Legal scholarhip, Judiciary
Auteurs Professor Adriaan Bedner
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article seeks to answer how useful the theoretical approaches developed in Europe and the United States are for explaining or understanding the autonomy of law in Indonesia – a nation that is on the verge of becoming a lower-middle-income country and whose legal system presents many of the features found in other developing countries’ legal systems. The article first sketches three lines of theoretical thought that have dominated the inquiry into autonomy of law in (Western) sociology and then assesses to what extent they are represented in the socio-legal studies of Indonesian law. The conclusion is that although socio-legal scholars studying developing countries need supplementary concepts and theories, they can use the Western ones as their point of departure in understanding the functioning of law in a setting that is very different from the one in which these theories were developed.


Professor Adriaan Bedner
Adriaan Bedner is professor of law and society in Indonesia at the Van Vollenhoven Institute (Leiden Law School). He has worked on many different subjects within this field, including family law, administrative courts, and environmental law. His present focus is on the Indonesian Ombudsman and on legal education.
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