Qian Liu, Ph.D.

Fellow von Juli bis September 2021


Univesity of Victoria
Ph.D. in Law and Society
seit 2018
Univesity of Victoria
Research Associate, Center for Asia-Pacific Initiatives


Law as an Iceberg in the Ocean: Legal Pluralism and Everyday Exceptions

Existing literature on legal pluralism has revealed a great deal about the conflict between local customs and state law, but less attention has been paid to how ordinary people’s perceptions of justice and fairness contribute to the existing conflict. My research project fills this gap by focusing particularly on ordinary Chinese people’s understandings of what the law should be and investigating how qingli 情理 [commonsense perceptions of justice] contributes to the scholarship of legal pluralism. Based on the detailed analysis of the relationship between qingli and state law, this research project discusses how commonsense feelings of justice create “exceptions” in everyday life under situations where ordinary people’s perceptions of justice and fairness do not align with that of state law. I demonstrate that the influential role of qingli is by no means “a sign of deficient law or a dysfunctional legal praxis,” and the flexible and fluid nature of qingli should not be considered to be a threat to the rule of law. This project aims to advance legal pluralism theories and lead to some theoretical breakthroughs by reflecting on the conceptual links between concepts originating from different social and cultural contexts, such as qingli, living law, and morality.


Einschlägige Veröffentlichungen

Liu, Qian, Relational Dignity, State Law, and Chinese Leftover Women’s Choices in Marriage and Childbearing, in: Asian Journal of Law and Society (2021), 1-17. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/als.2020.43

Liu, Qian, With or Without You: Qing, Li, Fa, and Legal Pluralism in China, in: China Law and Society Review 5 (2020), 88-118. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/25427466-00502001

Liu, Qian, Demanding Rights or Understanding. Legal Restrictions, Feminist Resistance, and Being Unmarried Mothers in China, in: Guoguang Wu, Yuan Feng & Helen Lansdowne (Eds.), Gender Dynamics, Feminist Activism and Social Transformation in China, Routledge 2019.

Liu, Qian, Legal Consciousness of the Leftover Woman: Law and Qing in Chinese Family Relations, in: Asian Journal of Law and Society 5 (2018), 7-27. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/als.2017.28