Maison Franco-japonaise: 日仏会館 Institut français de recherche sur le Japon à la Maison franco-japonaise (UMIFRE 19 MEAE-CNRS)

Langue:JA / FR


Chinese Civil Law

[ Workshop ]

en anglais sans traduction
Date jeudi 26 septembre 2013 / 9 h 30 - 17 h
Lieu salle 601
Participants :
Jérôme BOURGON (CNRS, France)
CH’IU Peng-sheng (Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong)
Maura DYKSTRA (Univ. of California, Los Angeles)
David FAURE (Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong)
Luca GABBIANI (EFEO, Beijing)
KISHIMOTO Mio (Ochanomizu Univ.)
MATSUBARA Kentarō (The Univ. of Tokyo)
TAKAMIZAWA Osamu (The Univ. of Tokyo)

Résumé :
This workshop intends to reach a new level of understanding with regard to the “civil” aspects of traditional Chinese law, in the first instance by sharply focusing on the exact textual interpretation of particular Chinese sources whose significance has not been fully brought out, and then by closely analysing the manifold layers of social organisation that informed the formation and functioning of these texts.

 Historiography of Chinese traditional law has been developing steadily in the last decades, in China itself as well as abroad. Building partly upon the Japanese tradition of historical legal studies of China (Niida Noboru, Shiga Shûzo among others), specialists worldwide have increasingly shed light on the sophistication of imperial China’s legal build-up, whose roots can be traced back to the Han dynasty at least. An important focus of this research work has been the late imperial period (the Ming and Qing dynasties), where the vast amount of preserved administrative and juridical resources could be drawn on. These resources include the two dynasties’ administrative and legal codes, a host of printed or manuscript works on what could be termed as “legal knowledge” and the large array of archival data dealing either with the legislative process itself or with the actual enforcement of justice by the officials of the imperial bureaucracy, all through its various hierarchical levels. Through the analysis of these texts, scholars have paid particular attention to the articulation between the state apparatus, its legal superstructure and the practices in local society. This in turn has led to debates concerning the complex issues involving “civil” cases and “civil law” more generally. If it is today undeniable that a large part of the judicial activities of Chinese local administrators were precisely related to what can be termed as “civil suits”, the question of whether the Chinese legal tradition ever developed notions and principles of civil law sui generis before its encounter with the modern legal framework remains the topic of heated debates.

While a number of factors may have contributed to these issues remaining largely unresolved, this workshop takes issue with one in particular. There has not been enough analysis of the content of each type of text, and of their social significance that would be necessary for a meaningful overt comparison with other legal traditions. Although scholars have long known the basic nature and functions of the variety of texts that formed the legal literature of late imperial times, few have combined a close reading of one or more of these texts with an analysis of the social dynamics that informed them, perhaps with such notable exceptions as Terada Hiroaki’s detailed analysis of the legal control of dian transactions during the mid-Qing period and Tanii Yoko’s study of the Hubu Zeli.
Thus the intended workshop will focus primarily on the exact textual content of Chinese sources, and consider what elements can be extracted from them in order to shed light on the social formation of the time, involving such dimensions as property regimes and property rights, contractual practices and written understandings, succession and family law, commercial ventures, etc.

Organization :
Bureau français de la MFJ
The University of Tokyo
EFEO (Beijing Centre)

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