HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology. This article, in French, discusses one of the founding fathers of anthropology in the nineteenth century, the jurist-anthropologist of the British Raj, Sir Henry Sumner Maine.
Goetzmann, Marc, 2020. “Le juriste anthropologue du British Raj. Sir Henry Sumner Maine et son oeuvre”, in BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
British Victorian jurist Henry Maine was one of the founding fathers of anthropology, and legal anthropology in particular. He is best known for Ancient Law (1861) and its famous thesis on the transition from status to contract in Indo-European societies. For seven years, beginning in 1862, Maine was legal adviser to the Council of the Governor General of India. He was interested in the dynamics between law and social change and the functioning of customary law in Indian village communities. His writings fostered the development of field investigations in India from the 1870-1880s and onwards. He is regarded as one of the main inspirations for the policy of indirect rule in the British Empire. His ideas were to be successful among Indian nationalists wishing to preserve Indian institutions, primarily village communities. As a professor of law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he was also the author of Village Communities in East and West (1871), Lectures on the Early History of Institutions (1875), and Dissertations on Early Law and Custom (1883).