Publication Details

This article was originally published as Mohr, R, Law and identity in spatial contests, National Identities, 5(1), 2003, 53-66. Original article available here.


Law has had a traditional reference to land, conceived as territory, in the notion of a jurisdiction, where the law of the land applies equally to all individuals. Recent critiques of this view have suggested that a plurality of laws may apply in particular places. How this spatial pluralism impacts on dominant views of law is considered through two instances in which law has interacted with competing conceptions of place and territory in relations between European and Indigenous Australians. Space, law and identity are seen to constitute each other in complex forms. Indigenous beliefs and practices challenge the claims to universality of Western conceptions of law and space deriving from Roman law and spatial practices.

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