February 1, 2021 at 3:19 pm

Musaraj Presents At Webinar Honoring Late Law & Society Scholar Sally Engle Merry

Dr. Smoki Musaraj smiling with arms crossed and brick building behind her

Dr. Smoki Musaraj

Dr. Smoki Musaraj, Director of the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, gave a virtual presentation titled “Doing an Ethnography of Corruption” on Jan. 15 as a part of a webinar series honoring the late Dr. Sally Engle Merry (1944-2020).

Merry was a professor of anthropology at New York University. During her career, she was president of the Law and Society Association, president of the American Ethnological Society, and president of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology. The webinar series is organized by Allegra Lab, a collective of academics and an online magazine featuring cutting edge work by anthropologists and other scholars. The webinar series features presentations that examine Merry’s legacy in the current field of legal anthropology.

Musaraj’s presentation, the second in the series, was done in conjunction with Dr. Birgit Müller, a senior researcher at the LAIOS in Paris, France.

The presentation, Musaraj says, was broken up into two parts. “The first part takes inspiration from Sally Merry’s recent work on indicators as technologies of governance and forms of knowledge and my own participation in the research group on indicators that Merry co-led over many years.”

The second half was inspired by Merry’s work in courtroom ethnography and legal pluralism. In this section, Musaraj discussed her current research into the judicial reform in Albania, and ways in which courtroom ethnography “…can provide key insights on how the corruption or integrity of judges and prosecutors is assessed in the vetting process set up under the monitoring of the European Union.”

The webinar aimed to use these two points of discussion to spark conversation about various methodological and analytical tools that ethnographers can apply to the study of corruption.


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