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Constitutional ethnography is the study of the central legal elements of polities using methods that are capable of recovering the lived detail of the politico-legal landscape. This article provides an introduction to this sort of study by contrasting constitutional ethnography with multivariate analysis and with nationalist constitutional analysis. The article advocates not a universal one-size-fits-all theory or an elegant model that abstracts away the distinctive, but instead outlines an approach that can identify a set of repertoires found in real cases. Learning the set of repertoires that constitutional ethnography reveals, one can see more deeply into particular cases. Constitutional ethnography has as its goal, then, not prediction but comprehension, not explained variation but thematization.


Constitutional Ethnography

Publication Title

Law & Society Review

Publication Citation

38 Law & Soc'y Rev. 389 (2004)