Die Revitalisierung von Tradition: Im (Ver-)Handlungsfeld zwischen staatlichem und lokalem Recht

Translated title of the contribution: The revitalisation of tradition:: Agency and negotiations between state law and local law

Birgit Braeuchler, Thomas Widlok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The current process of increasing globalisation, transnationalism and a seeming homogenisation is accompanied by a worldwide trend towards the revitalisation of local traditions, structures, meanings and values, especially in the field of so-called traditional or customary law. This essay introduces the contributions of the special issue The revitalisation of tradition that strives to trace and analyse such processes. The articles are based on anthropological research conducted in different continents and show that revitalisation of traditions should not be confused with a return to the past. To the contrary, it often involves explicitly future-oriented strategies albeit not always in line with "western" idea-Is of democracy, human rights and emancipation, but rather with local discourses of identity, decision-making and equality. The ethnographic studies demonstrate how power games and negotiations between local, state and international agents shape such processes of revitalisation. They are not concerned with determining what "tradition" is or should be, but with the positioning of diverse agents, with the options, conflicts and limitations that these positions entail, and with exposing the changing power structures and "cultural realities" involved.

Translated title of the contributionThe revitalisation of tradition:: Agency and negotiations between state law and local law
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalZeitschrift fuer Ethnologie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Customary law
  • Globalisation
  • Identity
  • Power
  • Revitalisation of tradition
  • State

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