[Janet K. Levit is Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair at the University of Tulsa College of Law]
This post is part of our symposium on Dean Schiff Berman’s book Global Legal Pluralism. Other posts can be found in Related Posts below.
In Global Legal Pluralism: A Jurisprudence of Law Beyond Borders, Paul Schiff Berman concludes that we live in a world of multiple norm-generating, but not necessarily territorially-based, communities, some sanctioned by the state and some not; these communities overlap in asserting norms and “adjudicating” law, creating hybrid legal spaces that are often “jurisgenerative.” Berman argues that in an age of globalization, we should embrace this type of pluralism. To the extent that the book is prescriptive, Berman looks to law, particularly procedural and conflicts law, to preserve and manage these hybrid legal spaces.
Since 2005, I have joined Berman in multiple symposia and panels, and I have commented on many of the articles and book chapters that are the building blocks for Global Legal Pluralism. The long “gestation” period paid off – Global Legal Pluralism is a brilliant and eloquent weaving of Berman’s various scholarly threads. While the book concludes in part that law is “messy,” the book’s argument is quite neat, tight, and logical. Berman addresses and redresses the dominant critiques lobbed at his work over the years, showcases agility with interdisciplinary research, and demonstrates the value of legal scholarship that does not end with heavy-handed prescriptions. Like all books of this breadth, there is room for critique. Instead, in this post, I offer some broader thoughts on ways to push Berman’s outstanding work beyond its own boundaries and borders. (more…)