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Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2012 Subject: CFP-Panel on "The social construction of practical norms" European Conference on African Studies (ECAS5) Professor Jacky Bouju, of the Centre d’Études des Mondes Africains (CEMAf) and the Département d'Anthropologie of l'Université Aix-Marseille is assembling a panel, entitled "The social construction of practical norms: everyday practices at the margins of rules and laws" for the upcoming 5th European Conference on African Studies (Lisbon, June 26-28, 2013) and is interested in additional presenters. His panel description follows: ECAS 5: African dynamics in a multipolar world June 26-28 2013 ECAS 5 Lisbon Panel 048: The social construction of practical norms: everyday practices at the margins of rules and laws Jacky Bouju (CEMAf-Aix Marseille Université) & Sylvie Ayimpam (CEMAf) This panel proposes to think about the actual dynamics of social regulation and collective action in Africa. Indeed, globalization has brought about a worldwide weakening of the nation-states’ sovereignty.This in turn induced a proliferation of activities that have led to norms' transgressions and building of illegal spheres of action. In Africa, this process has followed a particular trend due to the historical context of the continent. Since the independences, African societies have been engaged in a gradual process of informalization depending on the local level of economic decomposition and social structures disintegration. This context is favourable to the multiplication of informal activities that overstep established laws, customs, institutions and social norms. Today, the legal and illegal dimensions of activities are closely intertwined while the State‘s capacity to control and regulate is desabled. Although the general weakening of laws provides opportunities for changes in the organization of dailylife and collective action, its normative construction is underpinned by tensions between" normative rules " and "pragmatic norms"(Bailey 1971), between "normative rules" and "effective rules "(Reynaud1997), or between "official norms" and "practical norms" (Chauveau, Le Pape, Olivier de Sardan 2001). As evidenced by pioneering works on “legal pluralism”, on the phenomenon of “plurality of norms”, on the “social functioning of the law” or on “ norm as a social process”, the topic is not new (among others Comaroff & Roberts 1977; Moore 1978; Kintz 1987; Assier-Andrieu 1987, 2001, Griffiths 1986, 1992;Hesseling & Le Roy 1990; Le Roy 1995; Chauveau, Le Pape & Olivier de Sardan 2001). The social construction of differences between norms and practices appears as a sociological permanent feature.And this is one of the objectives of this panel to analyze its actual nature and modalities. However, in Africa as elsewhere, the weakening of the legal regulation enlightens the process of emancipation and multiplication of social regulations sometimes located in the margins of legality. These activities can be non legal (they do not comply with the law) or illegal (they have a purpose contrary to the law). Such activities like smuggling, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, land speculation, prostitution, etc., tend to settle as self-regulating social fields, producing their own socially recognized standards and practices that allow them to operate and adapt in the long term. If the most visible of these activities are often economic (informal economy), other spheres of life and social practices are also concerned. They explore the margins of normativity, thus creating blurred systems of action giving way to phenomenon like corruption, patronage, adultery, cronyism, fraud, etc. All domains - social, economic, religious or political - are concerned and all are undermined by heavy tensions between norms and practices. Therefore this panel offers an opportunity to cast a fresh look at the normative "over-pluralism" in Africa which affects not only the distinction between official norms and practical norms, but also the many "informal norms" that regulate everyday survival behaviors. Because, most of the activities practiced by people to reduce the daily life insecurity, tend to increase the gap between official norms and effective norms. The contributions expected here will be based on field data examplifying situations of normative complexity where practices overstep offical norms of action. They will adress issues and questionssuch as: How are practical norms governing illegal or immoral activities (smuggling, adultery, forgery,bribery, fraud, etc.) articulated to the normative rules’ expected sanctions? How do rules and practicesreally interact? What are the ethical justifications and principles used to justify the gap between rulesand practices? In real situations where different normative sets of rules do compete for controllingcollective action, how is supremacy estabished? How to be sure that apparent violation of a rule is not apractical norm conforming to a different set of rules locally well hidden? This Panel 048, on the social construction of practical norms at the margins of rules and laws will be interdisciplinary and bilingual, French and English. To send your paper proposal in English to this panel 048, please follow the link below and click on the « propose a paper » link bottom of the page. http://www.nomadit.co.uk/ecas/ecas2013/panels.php5?PanelID=1993 (will close on January 16th 2013) Key words: social norms, normative rules, practical norms, official norms, pragmatic norms, legal pluralism, daily practice, laws, illegality, social regulation, collective action, anomy, informality, social change.