in association with the Commission on Legal Pluralism, Lisbon July 13-16, 2022

Bertram Turner; Keebet von Benda-Beckmann

Decolonizing the normative power of technology and materiality in postcolonial plural legal settings

Since early colonial times, technology, materiality and their encoded knowledge regimes have, largely unacknowledged, displayed their normative power within the plural legal configurations created by colonizing states for their colonies. Such processes of normative interference by other-than-legal means continue in the postcolony. Given the fact that legal pluralism today is propagated in various fields of legal studies, not as a sensitizing analytical concept but as a normative project that may provide an appropriate tool to decolonize the global legal order, unpacking these less obvious components of legal pluralism is an essential task. We discuss how materiality, technology and other-than legal-knowledge regimes are entangled with other ordering regimes that together make up plural legal constellations in the postcolony today.