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Thirty-six years on: revisiting People’s Law and State Law: The Bellagio Papers
The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law  (IF),  Pub Date : 2022-01-07, DOI: 10.1080/07329113.2021.1996073
Anne Griffiths


This article considers the impact of the book People’s Law and State Law: the Bellagio Papers, edited by Anthony Allott and Gordon Woodman, published in 1985. It sets out why I consider this publication to be a seminal text in establishing and developing the field of legal pluralism, which had a great impact on both the development of the Journal of Legal Pluralism and on my own development as a young legal scholar. In looking beyond the text, I consider the ways in which scholars have engaged with the book’s call for legal and social science to “work from a new map”. In doing so I explore a recent arena of scholarship involving international intervention. The article highlights the important contribution that empirical studies can make to research on legal pluralism, by moving beyond the binaries of state and non-state actors, as well as through pursuing how scholars are adopting a more integrated and relational approach to law, one that may involve breaking down traditional disciplinary boundaries. In particular, I explore how concepts such as space and time contribute to a multi-dimensional, scalar perception of law at odds with a formalist, state-centred view of legal pluralism. This allows new insights to be generated into the operation of plural legal structures and constellations in which people operate allowing for a view of law that involves multiple networks of relations cutting across international, national and local boundaries.