The first virtual edition of PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review came out in 2010 as a companion to its symposium issue on NGOs (Volume 33, Issue 2). Featuring nine articles published between 1998 and 2009, this issue highlighted the growing role of international and private organizations in changes all over the globe — from Nepal to Zimbabwe to Mexico.
2012: Reflections from Occupied Worlds marks the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Movement with a collection of essays and postscripts that provide a unique commentary on challenges of pursuing social justice and activism alongside anthropological inquiry. In recognition of other resistance movements, including the Arab Spring, protests in Europe, and others that predated and coincided with Occupy, the issue features articles published before the Occupy Movement, providing a view of how anthropologists have explained tensions within and between resistance and political institutions.
2013: Transparency is premised on the belief that making otherwise unseen processes and information visible in the public arena offers a corrective tool to “check” governance practices. The articles featured in the virtual issue complicate this premise by exploring transparency as an object of anthropological inquiry. They illustrate the material practices, negotiations, and even impossibilities of transparency as revealed by the actions and reflections of those who encounter and wrestle with its terms in a variety of contexts. Each article documents actions and rituals that emerge from pursuing transparency, illuminating the legalistic and political contours that inform expectations of transparency.
2014: Law and Inequalities revisits enduring socio-legal concerns by focusing on “the role of law and legal institutions in sustaining, creating, interrogating, and ameliorating inequalities.” Nine articles and four postscripts comprise the virtual issue and feature research conducted across the globe. The collection captures unique anthropological insights into an array of inequalities that intersect with and underpin law and society. Moreover, the issue demonstrates the capacity of ethnographic inquiry to provide important empirical understandings of both the local and the global, as well as the interplay between them.
2015: The Promise and Pathos of Law offers an anthropological take on the 2015 Law and Society Association (LSA) meeting theme: Law’s Promise and Law’s Pathos in the Global North and Global South, which explores the following questions: What has law accomplished in the Global North and Global South? What are the tradeoffs and consequences of its pursuits? The eight articles and complementary postscripts that comprise the virtual edition provide important and ethnographically informed insight into the tensions that emerge through and around legal interventions.