Historically, anthropology came to social control as a theoretical concern in the context of the legal administration of indigenous communities, but as the field evolved with the times, its concerns with social control waned. With major caveats, I suggest that there is still life in the idea of law as social control to the extent that it draws attention to specific forms of power in both governmental efforts to manage populations, and – in contrast to earlier formulations -- efforts on the part of the public to hold governors to account. The lecture will touch on the history of the idea and contemporary examples.


Carol Greenhouse is Arthur W. Marks ‘19 Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Princeton University. Her primary research interests lie in the ethnography of law, particularly in relation to the federal United States. Greenhouse is past president of the American Ethnological Society, the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology and the Law & Society Association; she is also past editor of American Ethnologist. She is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Carol Greenhouse
Princeton University