Signaling Conformity: Changing Norms in Japan and China

Whatever their differences, the articles in this issue also have much in common in addition to their regional focus. The author of this Comment shall discuss in turn three (related) theoretical issues that arise, to a greater or lesser degree, in all four contributions. The first Part of this Comment considers the insights of these articles on the need to move from discussing transplants to focusing on transnational legal processes. The second Part examines what the contributions tell us about culture, legal culture, and the so-called “norm of conformity.” I shall concentrate in particular on the cultural sources of choices to conform. The conclusion discusses the contribution of these articles toward the further study of the processes for spreading conformity. In the author’s view, the articles’ insights on these processes encompass many of their most valuable common elements. But, conversely, the significance of their claims can only be appreciated if placed in a larger framework.