cricket and the Constitution of the Soviet Union under Stalin each illustrate this point. Cricket was introduced to the Trobriand Islands off the north-east coast of New Guinea by Methodist missionaries, but the islanders, whilst still retaining the English game and its rules as a rough framework, built on this framework an exotic ritual of provocation and communal celebration, with dancing, ritual taunts and boasting, and teams of up to sixty a side – a formalised celebration of inter-village rivalry. 21 If all that was considered were the formal rules and the names
from indifference to insurrection, so a successful replacement of one order by another involves the cultivation of an alternative which can be both distinctive in its leadership and recognisable and desirable amongst its associates and potential associates.
In all cultivations of identity, whether sustaining or challenging existing orders, none of the evidence for a particular identity is inherent, and any artefact or human production can be given radically different interpretations and significance. The examples of Trobriand cricket and Aztec
, law to be law in any
meaningful sense must have certain characteristics to a given degree, much
as a ball would not be a ball without a measure of roundness and volume. But
just as notions of ‘ballness’ do not tell you per se whether it
is a cricket or a rugby ball, so notions of ‘lawness’ or
‘legality’ do not say anything about the purpose or content
particular laws might have.
Law as such does
's complexity. Challenges to an account of Britishness as no more, and no less, than the sum of everything and only at any one particular time serve only to sustain such an account by attacking it and providing immediate evidence of diversity. The retort that there is an essential Britishness, or Englishness, the essence of which is then delineated in terms of religion, taste for cricket, diet, household ethics and conventions, or skin colour, serves only to provide one more example of the contingency of any account of the world, British, English, or anywhere else, and the