Synergy or skirmish? The collaboration of law and anthropology

Young, Simon (2016) Synergy or skirmish? The collaboration of law and anthropology. In: Researching property law. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., London, United Kingdom, pp. 145-163. ISBN 978-1-137-48789-6


This chapter begins with a brief review of the origins of this interdisciplinary conversation and its broad ongoing relevance in various fields of property law. The focus then turns to the way the collaboration works, academically and professionally, in the context of Aboriginal (or ‘native’) title. We will examine some of the history of the union in this context and illustrate its operation with respect to some key practical controversies. Examples are chiefly drawn from the Australian context, however, North-American and New Zealand comparisons will be added in particular places.
In the context of Indigenous issues, the value of productive collaboration between law and anthropology is self-evident. Few would deny the inherent limitations of traditional Western legal method, left to its own devices, in its contemplation of sophisticated pre-existing Indigenous cultures. Popular staging posts for critique here include the first instance decisions in Delgamuukw v British Columbia (1991) 79 DLR (4th) 185 and Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria [1998] FCA 1606. However, a suitably simple starting point is a comment from the famous Maori lawyer, Sir E T Durie. He once famously decried the stubborn ‘monoculturalism’ of the courts when describing how a Maori elder’s song in a riverbed claim was interpreted: ‘The court noted that he sang a song but had nothing to say.’

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Print copy not held in the USQ Library.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Law and Justice
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 00:21
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2017 05:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: property law, Aboriginal title, native title, anthropology
Fields of Research : 18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180124 Property Law (excl. Intellectual Property Law)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940401 Civil Justice

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