This article proposes a thorough ‘rectification of names’ take place in comparative legal studies, with a specific focus on Chinese law. Pioneering Chinese comparative law scholars focused on describing the Chinese legal system using Western legal terminology. The job of the second-generation of legal scholars, however, is to interpret both the primary source material and prior interpretations. There are many pitfalls entailed with studying non-Western law, foremost is the danger of one’s conceptual paradigms influencing an interpretation. Any culture’s legal order is uniquely tuned to a cultural context, and Chinese culture represents a social order with sufficient coherence for scholars to develop useful generalizations about legal sensibility and legal order. Law is a reflection of culture and a producer of it, thus to understand Chinese legal order, one must understand the categories of meaning through which the Chinese make sense of lives and experience.
Categories and Culture: On the 'Rectification of Names' in Comparative Law, 82 CORNELL L. REV. 19