This is the second instalment of a two-part conference jointly organized by Jigme SingyeWangchuck School of Law (JSW Law) in Bhutan and the University of Victoria’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI) and Faculty of Law (UVic Law) (conference part I). The overall goal of this second conference that emerged from the first is to consider—through the lens of public law and regulation—how legal pluralism expresses itself in a global context.
This conference, and the collections of essays and articles that will emerge from it, recognize that not all law is state law. We explore how norms emerging from non-state legal orders, including transnational standards, religious and customary norms, and private codes interact with state and international law and politics to regulate local, regional, and global challenges—challenges arising from globalization in all its dimensions. In exploring these questions, we approach the challenge of regulating globalization through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing on research and scholarly perspectives in history, anthropology, political science, religion, environmental studies, and law to better understand the interactions among normative systems, including state legal orders, and the challenges and promise arising from a multiplicity of legal orders.
We also acknowledge that there is much to be gained in turning to the diverse experiences and practices of many parts of Asia, with its long history of legal pluralism. In pursuing these questions, we recognize a deep disenchantment with states as the source of inspiration and action in addressing the challenges of our time—and, indeed, the perilous rise of an increasingly toxic form of xenophobia nationalism. Although not all of the contributors to this conference are optimistic about the ability of legal orders, broadly understood, to mitigate the harsher effects of globalization, many still hold out a hope of re-enchantment—that we might, by thinking creatively about law’s promise, find a way to mobilize law and multi-layered forms of legal ordering to find a way out of some of the planet’s most confounding predicaments.