Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Pier Giuseppe Monateri
Chapter 6: How to do Projects with Comparative Law: Notes of an Expedition to the Common Core
* Günter Frankenberg 1. PROLOGUE ON PERSPECTIVE AND METHOD To be invited to Trento is an innocent pleasure. To be asked to address the Annual Conference on the Common Core of European Private Law is an honor which, according to the relevant theory of gifts, requires that a return present be given.1 Praise of the Project or critical appraisal might be in order then.2 A third way of reciprocating, chosen by conference speakers in the past, could be an edifying narrative not directly related to the Project. As a non-private-law scholar wary of displaying his ignorance about European private law and, hence, the substantive core of the Project here under ‘review’, and having been invited to address the Common Core Project’s announced preference for functionalism, I have opted for yet another return gift. Yielding to the spirit of humbleness so common among mainstream comparatists, I assume the distancing posture of an amateur anthropologist3 who ventures on a journey into a territory virtually unknown to him and tells a rather sketchy story of his encounters with the indigenous and ingenious inhabitants of that territory and their work. From the vantage point of conﬂict theory I intend to ask how the unity and identity of the group may be constructed. How do the group members deﬁne the adversaries of and the dangers to their project? And which goals do they proclaim to ﬁght for? I shall then take a brief look at the tools they use to gather and order...
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