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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 23, 2008

Eugen Ehrlich, Living Law, and Plural Legalities

  • David Nelken

This Article examines the different meanings of Ehrlich’s idea of living law in relation to current debates about legal pluralism. It distinguishes three aspects of Ehrlich’s concept as these have been elaborated in the later literature: "law beyond the law," "law without the state," and "order without law." This retrospective shows that Ehrlich was not principally concerned with defending the rights of ethnic or autonomous communities as such. In taking his work further, it is important to recognize to what extent official and unofficial law are even more interdependent today than in his day. But we may still find his work of relevance to thinking about the normative challenges of plural legalities.

Published Online: 2008-6-23

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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