Wild-West Cowboys Versus Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Some Problems in Comparative Approaches to Hate Speech
Queen Mary University of London, School of Law
October 4, 2009
EXTREME SPEECH AND DEMOCRACY, Chapter 10, James Weinstein & Ivan Hare, eds., pp. 182-203, Oxford University Press, 2009
Queen Mary University of London, School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper
All European states prohibit some form of hate speech. US law fundamentally precludes such bans. Euro-American comparisons can shed light on debates about hate speech, but little attention has been paid to comparative methodology. In view of the political and symbolic importance of free speech, the trans-Atlantic divide inevitably invites cultural comparisons. It is important to avoid drawing broad conclusions about deeper Euro-American differences based solely on black-letter norms. Unduly broad extrapolation from formal norms can lead to problems of essentialism and ahistoricism. Attention is paid in this chapter to the balance between formalist and realist jurisprudence as a pathway into constructive comparisons.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: comparative law, European law, hate speech, legal formalism, legal realism, US law
JEL Classification: K1
Date posted: October 6, 2009
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