Multicultural Jurisprudence

Multicultural Jurisprudence : Comparative Perspectives on the Cultural Defense

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As individuals travel across borders, societies have become more and more pluralistic. The result of increased migration is the interaction among cultural communities and inevitably clashes between state law and customary law. These cultural conflicts have given rise to a new multicultural jurisprudence. In this volume scholars grapple with the immense challenges judges are currently experiencing everywhere. To what the extent can and should courts accommodate litigants' request by taking their cultural backgrounds into account? This collection brings together powerful examples of the cultural defense in many countries in Western Europe, North America, and elsewhere. It shows the ubiquity of this defense, contrary to the mistaken impression that it has been invoked principally in the United States. This book makes the case for undertaking studies of the use of the cultural defense in jurisdictions all over the world where this has not been previously documented. Many of the essays concentrate on criminal cases including homicide in the context of honour crimes, provocation based on "loss of face" or witchcraft killings.
Some deal with other areas of law such as asylum jurisprudence, family law, and housing policy. They show in concrete cases how cultural claims have arisen and how legal systems wrestle with these arguments. It is clear that judges have had considerable difficulty handling many of the cultural claims. The authors demonstrate persuasively the need to reconsider the proper use of cultural evidence in legal proceedings. Those interested in the ways in which expertise influences the disposition of cases will find this book compelling.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 392 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 19mm | 380g
  • Hart Publishing
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1841138967
  • 9781841138961
  • 2,126,400

Review quote

... Multicultural Jurisprudence is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in social and legal plurality and the use of culture in the judicial setting. It is consistently well written and well referenced, with excellent use of judicial precedents. It is interesting and provocative, raising many troubling issues, and highlighting the difficulty the law and legal institutions have had in coping with cultural plurality. Shawn H.E. Harmon Social & Legal Studies Volume 20, No.4 ...Foblets and Renteln deserve an accolade for redressing our ignorance regarding to what extent, if at all, cultural imperatives should mitigate punishment in today's legally pluralistic society. But most nobly of all, they endeavor to end the clash between law and culture. Lee P. Ruddin Law and Politics Book Review Vol 19, No 10, October 2009 The chapters provide a range of important examples in the courtroom ... each author employs an anthropological lens that enables the reader to understand and appreciate the nuances in each country's history and how national identity affects the incorporation in judicial and administrative processes. Jamie Rowen Law and Society Review Volume 44, Issue 2 This collection ... satisfies the pressing demand for further expert discussion of this subject. Overall, the strength of this volume lies in its multidisciplinarity, its internationally comparative approach, and its well-balanced provision for both theory and practice. This thought-provoking publication ... will definitely be of great value to anyone interested in multiculturalism in general and in legal and philosophical implications in particular. Marie-Luisa Frick New Criminal Law Review Volume 13, No.3, Summer 2010
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About Marie-Claire Foblets

Alison Dundes Renteln is a Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Marie-Claire Foblets is Professor Ordinarius of Law and Anthropology at the Universities of Leuven, Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium.
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