Asylum and conflict from antiquity to the present. Studies in the anthropology of law
Turner presents a comparative study of institutionalized forms of ´granting shelter´ (asylum) - in many cultures and through the centuries. His case material starts from the Old Testament, scriptural sources of the Old Orient, Greek and Roman Antiquity, then extends to the asylum law of the (Christian) Church, and developments in European Modernity. He then deals with first anthropological studies in law (19th and beginning 20th centuries, like E. Westermarck and W.E. Mühlmann), followed by ethnographic accounts from Oceania, Africa (the most detailed part), and short accounts from America and parts of Asia. In the second part of the book Turner focuses on asylum and conflict, that is, the comparative perspective on institutionalization, societal conflict potential and the agency of actors. Here, Turner discusses the religious legitimation and the normative force of the sacral, those who are considered ´legitimate´ applicants for asylum, and consequences of asylum: dynamics originating from violations of rules, consequences of granting asylum, the institution of asylum and conflict management, political centralization and asylum. The last chapter is a conclusion dealing with ´political centralization and asylum´, i.e. the state and central institutions, the principles of decision and mediation in reacting to violence and deviance, also the agency of actors.
Keywords: asylum, conflict, anthropology of law, law and asylum, pluralism of law, juridical pluralism, comparative studies, religion and law, agency, state and asylum