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Archaic forms of contract in Max Weber’s theories and in Arab and Somali customary law

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Chapter Summary

This chapter first tries to discover what Max Weber has to say about early history of contract or at least some aspects of it, and then asks how well what Weber says fits with what the reader knows about contract in Arab and Somali customary law. The evidence from the Bedouin and the Somali adduced in the chapter shows that Weber was wrong in believing that the functional distinction between his two types of contract also always corresponds to a formal difference. More generally, it is evident that Weber drew the distinction between status and purpose contracts only in a very rough-and-ready fashion. If the author wants to improve our understanding of early forms of contract, then a different approach is needed, one that is both more rigorous in its analysis and more closely tied to the facts.

Keywords: Arab customary law; Bedouin; contract archaic forms; Max Weber's theories; Sociology of Law; Somali customary law



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