Huang Kai-shen 黃凱紳


Huang Kai-shen 黃凱紳

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Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University

Duration of Stay: November 2016 to February 2017


An anthropologist specializing in Taiwanese society with a particular interest in its parliamentary politics and legal systems, I have conducted my research into the legal practices of Taiwanese commercial arbitration to develop the studies of legal anthropology. In my MPhil dissertation, I challenged the conceptual scheme of Legal Pluralism and argued that we should not draw any analytical distinction between law and other means, or forms, of maintaining social order and resolving conflicts so loosely that we are forced to disregard what multiple roles law can have in a wide range of social spheres. In the field of Taiwanese commercial arbitration, for example, law is distinctively perceived and not always messed up with other sources for resolving disputes by the primary participants. For them, law is often ideologically associated with the notion of justice or equality despite the fact that law does not always promise so and instead often crashes the informal nature of business dispute resolution schemes like commercial arbitration. Law, then, as a subject of anthropological studies, should be distinguished from other means that likewise function as instruments of achieving order and handling disputes. Through considering law as a distinctively social institution or cultural form, this approach provides a new perspective on continuing research into ‘law’ across different cultural dimensions and social arenas.


Qualifications: DPhil student in Anthropology (Oxford), MPhil in Social Anthropology (Oxford), LLM (National Taiwan University), LLB (National Taiwan University)