This study explores the use of Niklas Luhmann's theory of social systems in the geographic study of law. Describing law as the communication of congruently generalized normative expectations allows access to the spatiality contained within the operations of the legal system. This exploration takes place in the context of a legal system whose self-description, the so-called "rule of law," orients it toward the observation and coding of every possibility of experience. Topically the focus of this study is on the legal system's expansion into the lands and lives of indigenous people and on the making of two American Indian Reservations, the Red Lake Reservation and the White Earth Reservation, in nineteenth-century Minnesota. The conception of unorganized territory as "Indian Country," the cession of Indian lands and creation of tribes and reservations as legal entities, and the allotment of reservation lands to individual Indians in severalty provide comparative material. In addition to reformulating the geographic study of law as a study of law as a social system, the methodology allows the history of federal American Indian law to be described with emphasis on the use of space. Like time, space has been an integral medium for the legal system's infiltration of indigenous peoples' societies, as this study shows.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2008. Major: Geography. Advisor: Roderick H. Squires. 1 computer file (PDF) v, 216 pages.
Shockey, Frank Clinton.
Geography and the rule of law in the making of two American Indian Reservations: a geographic study of law as a social system.
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