Book after book, article after article, Carol Greenhouse has transformed what anthropologists study and developed contextually grounded techniques for understanding how others carve up the world. Carol Greenhouse was an important figure in the generation of political and legal anthropologists who made APLA, the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, and the Law and Society Association into the collaborative scholarly communities they are today. This special online PoLAR forum in honor of Carol Greenhouse engages with the analytical possibilities her work opened for anthropologists by consistently modeling techniques of historical and thick reflexivity, showing how anthropological approaches to the law are informed by the anthropologist’s historical moment, often in unexpected and patterned ways. In a series of key texts spanning four decades, beginning with her classic Praying for Justice (1986), she addressed the discursive knot connecting law-making and law-performing to anthropologists’ varied concerns, from constructing identity boundaries to fashioning economic rationalities. In this forum, we explore the ways in which ethnography always weaves between three vibrant intellectual conversations—the anthropological theoretical debates of the moment, one’s fieldwork interlocutors’ pressing concerns, and the analytical possibilities opened up in that conjuncture. This reflexivity connects ethnographic projects on law’s potential and explicitness to the currents of the historical moment, including neoliberalization, criminalization, and the rise of far right authoritarian regimes, within specific regional histories. Here, eight anthropologists explore what is made legible about their fieldwork projects when seen through this lens of thick reflexivity.
Edited by Ilana Gershon.
Susan Bibler Coutin
David M. Engel
Twenty-First Century Drug Policy Reform: Marijuana Legalization and the Constitutive Contradictions of Neoliberalism