Tradition and Custom Essay

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Macquarie Law Journal (2006) Vol 6 113 CUSTOM AND TRADITION: INNOVATION AND INVENTION BRUCE RIGSBY* I INTRODUCTION Custom and tradition are our main terms of interest, but others such as addiction, compulsion, convention, fashion, habit, and law signify closely related meanings.1 * 1 Dedicated to the memory of Homer Barnett, anthropologist at the University of Oregon, 19391985. I thank Don Dumond, John Taylor, Bob Tonkinson and Phil Young for assistance and comments on Barnett and his work. A version of this paper was prepared for the Workshop on ‘Custom: The Fate of Non-Western Law and Indigenous Governance in the 21st Century’, Canberra, 1-2 October 2002, sponsored by the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the UNESCO Australian National Commission and the National Institute of Social Sciences. I thank the editors of this journal and two anonymous readers for comment and advice. The views expressed are my own, except where noted otherwise. Bruce Rigsby is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at The University of Queensland, where he taught 1975-2000. Born and educated in America, he is Australian by choice. He earned his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Oregon in 1965. He has done anthropological and linguistic research with the Sahaptin-speaking people of eastern Oregon and Washington since 1963 and with the Gitksan people of British Columbia since 1966. He has done similar work with the Lamalama people of the Princess Charlotte Bay region of eastern Cape York Peninsula since 1972. His current research interests and publications mainly concern traditional-customary land and sea tenure and matters of native title. He is a co-editor (with Nicolas Peterson) and author of Customary Marine Tenure in Australia (Oceania Monograph 48, 1998) and Donald Thomson. The Man and Scholar (Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, 2005). He worked as an
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