Category Archives: Meetings/Minutes/Team Announcements

LSA panel: Non-State Law and Governance in South Asia and in the Diasporas

Law and Society Association 2012 International Meeting Honolulu, Hawai’i – 5-8 June 

Livia Holden; Lahore University of Management Sciences (Session Organizer)

Marc Galanter, U. of Wisconsin/London School of Econ & PolSci. (Co-Chair)
Livia Holden, Lahore University of Management Sciences (Co-Chair)
This session focuses on the South Asian networks that act as referents for the settlement of justice in South Asia, and furthermore analyses their translocal legal implications within the South Asian diasporas in terms of governance. The core focus of this workshop is the dynamics of the trust networks that inform the decision-making process concerning the choice of the forum for dispute resolution, especially but not exclusively, in relation to gender and power, and for their relation with governance. How practices of non-state law dispute resolution and their conceptualizations by both the socio-legal scholarship and the general public have been modified or influenced by local and translocal dynamics that have developed in South Asia in the last 40 years? How are those legal practices shaped by the post-colonial instances of the free market? And, what is the role of the geo-political stakeholders in the severance, re-establishment, variation, and perpetuation of trust networks for dispute resolution. Finally: what are the global implications of translocal forum shopping strategies and governance within and beyond the wider inter-Asian scenario of South Asian diasporas?
This workshop welcomes contributions looking at the language of the law by exploring the legal formulations, the arguments and the patterns of litigation within the everyday interactions of trust networks but also encourages multidisciplinary approaches from socio-legal scholars, anthropologists, lawyers, policy makers in a variety of domains, and activists. Authors may use a variety of methods ranging from qualitative to quantitative and including historical, ethnographic, and socio-legal analysis.
Jean-Philippe Dequen, University of London

Alternative Dispute Resolution within India’s Muslim Personal Law System

Mengia S Hong Tschalär, U of Zurich/Columbia U

Muslim Women’s Activists and Gender Reform: Non-State Muslim Women’s Bodies Negotiating Women’s Rights in Postcolonial India

Kalindi Kokal, National Centre for Advocacy StudiesTanta Mukta Gaav Samittee: A State Recognized Effort to Localize Dispute Resolution Forums
 Archana Parashar, Macquarie UniversityReligious Personal Laws as Non-State Laws: Implications for Gender Justice

First Meeting of the India Team – 8.11.2011 – IFP Pondicherry




Present: Flavia AGNES (full member), Eric DENIS (IFP – acting director), Livia HOLDEN (team leader), Tommaso SBRICCOLI (full member), Sylvia VATUK (full member), Daniela NERI (photographer), Marius HOLDEN (filmmaker)











10:00 – 10:30 Introductions and greetings by Eric Denis and Livia Holden

10:30 – 11:00 Jamgod and Jarra (Madhya Pradesh) by Tommaso Sbriccoli

11:00 – 11:30 Delhi by Sylvia Vatuk

11:30 – 12:00 Mumbai by Flavia Agnes

12:00 – 13:00 Discussion



15:00- 15:30 Piparsod, Shivpuri, Gwalior, Bhopal, Lahore, Karachi and UK by Livia Holden

15:30 – 17:30 Brainstorming on activities and outcomes



Aims and Scope


– Defining the theoretical framework of our research

– Reporting on the 1st year activity

– Planning fieldwork

– Planning activities

– Planning outcomes



We started with a general discussion regarding the ethnomethodological approach of the project to see how we can combine our different contexts, background, and fieldworks in view to carry out fieldwork that is not mere replication in different geographic areas.


We all had queries:

– Flavia was wondering whether the fact of being a lawyer and a social activist in the first place would not prevent her from making a significant contribution

– Sylvia was wondering about how to productively schedule her fieldwork given the high cost of her travel and the higher fee deducted by sender at each installment



– Tommaso was worried that his own gender may hinder access to women’s issues

– Livia was wondering whether it would not be appropriate to enlarge whenever possible the scope of the research in order to include a transnational dimension


We presented our fieldwork sites and plans and exchanged advice on appropriate contacts and bibliography




1. Fieldwork

Whenever possible but within the limitation of productive access and outcomes we will look at South Asia in a transnational perspective instead of limiting our focus to India only. Fieldwork will be concentrated in the second year of the project (2012) especially for Sylvia who travels from the United States. The year 2013 will be dedicated to finalize the outcomes that should be all in print by the end of the calendar year. However, if necessary short visits to the field will still be possible, especially for the participants in easy reach from the field.

2. Activities

2.1 Team Website to be linked with IFP page and Jaques Berques page with secured platform only accessible to members and public platform accessible to anyone.

2.2  Bibliographic survey to be regularly updated and to be published by the end of 2012 (a preliminary version will be available with the detailed report).

2.3  Next Team workshop to be held at IFP or alternatively in Mumbai at Majlis or in Lahore at LUMS. (temporary date – around the end of October 2011)

2.4  Conferences: Law and Society Conference 2012 (pending funds external to Andromaque)

2.5  Filming as participatory research (see detailed report)

3 Outcomes (see detailed reports)

3.1 Individual papers that can also be published in the collected volume/s of the bigger project

3.2 Co-Authored book by Agnes, Holden, Sbriccoli and Vatuk

3.3 Edited book by Agnes, Holden, Sbriccoli and Vatuk and with invited contributions by other authors

3.4 Ethnographic film


The meeting concluded at the restaurant La Promenade with a note of thanks to all the participants and especially to IFP (Social Sciences Department) that hosted this workshop.