Livia Holden (PhD – School of Oriental and African Studies University of London) is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, where she leads the European Research Council’s funded project Cultural Expertise in Europe: What is it useful for? (EURO-EXPERT). She is also tenured full professor at the university of Padua (on leave).
Prior to Oxford she was dean of the humanities and social sciences faculty and professor of anthropology at the Karakoram International University, professor of anthropology at Lahore University of Management Sciences, lecturer of international human rights and research fellow at the Socio-Legal Research Centre at Griffith University, research fellow at Freie University, and visiting professor at Humboldt University Berlin and INALCO Paris.
She has been 2015/16 Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Nantes and 2016 Social Sciences Awardee by the Pakistan Inter-University Consortium for the Promotion of Social Sciences. She holds affiliations with the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California Berkeley and Otago University.
Among her publications see: Hindu Divorce (Ashgate 2008 and Routldge 2013), Cultural Expertise and Litigation (Routledge 2011 and 2013), and Legal Pluralism and Governance in South Asia and Diasporas (Journal of Legal Pluralism 2013 and Routledge 2015). Among her co-authored documentary films with Marius Holden see: Lady Judges of Pakistan (2013), The Paper Monster (2002), Doing Nothing Successfully (2003) and Runaway Wives (2000).
- I have been academician in three continents and throughout six countries. The reoccurring question was: “… and what about the children?” People wanted to know what my children think about the life that we lead. I respond for the first time through a polyphonic narrative to share our experience as a family. I argue that the patriarchal expectations that negatively impacted on my life as mother and academician are linked with class. Hence, the apparent paradox between outdated gender expectations in the European middle class context and the uneventful combination of motherhood and career among the upper class in Pakistan.Although the first appointment of women judges in Pakistan dates back to 1974, the significant appointment of “lady judges” in the past decade has caused a jump in female representation in the judiciary to more than one third in family courts – a quiet move that sends a message of adherence to the principle of gender equality as per the international treaties to which Pakistan is signatory. By investigating the everyday interactions and preoccupations of women judges in their daily management of justice, this paper explores the socio-legal reception of the human rights discourse from the perspective of the female judges. The challenge in this scenario is whether this change will only be formal or whether it will also lead to substantial and accountable justice. The findings here additionally elucidate how the global agenda impacts local expectations and conceptualizations of rights within and beyond the state.This paper explores social actors’ arguments regarding daughters’ inheritance, their use in court, and the implications of legal pluralism on governance in Pakistan. It scrutinizes the notion of custom, non-state law, and positive law as crucial dynamics that shed light on the ways social actors make sense of power and governance. In Foucauldian terms, this paper deals with the formation of statements – their temporalization and their becoming but in particular sheds light on the potential logics of the perpetuation of gender discrimination in inheritance laws. This paper suggests that the everyday arguments that play a role in the elaboration of the story told to the courts and received by the judge have the role of actants. Within the framework of proceedings it is possible to isolate the micro-units on which the legal discourse is elaborated either for state- or non-state jurisdiction, or for both of them, not necessarily seen as antagonistic places, and not necessarily seen within a framework of justice and injustice. This paper concludes that notwithstanding polarized discourses on centralized and decentralized governance, everyday practices of law in Pakistan tend rather to perpetuate non-state law together with positive law as continuous and concomitant interlegalities in and beyond the state instead of exclusive and conflicting sources of legitimacy.
Expert wtinessing and cultural expertise, gender and judging, state- and non-state jurisdiction, Islamic law, Hindu law, anthropology of human rights, documentary filmmaking, mixed research methods, research ethics in unstable and politically volatile fieldwork settings