Law and Culture - Inside and Beyond the Nation State
14 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2009 Last revised: 27 Oct 2018
Date Written: January 19, 2009
The question of how law should address 'culture' is pressing. But culture should not be seen as a unity. It consists of diverse components - relating to ultimate values and beliefs, traditions, emotional allegiances and instrumental social relations - and law relates to these components in different ways. Culture is a bounded unity only in the dangerous, pathological case of absolute cultural divisions - which state law should oppose. The concept of legal culture is equally problematic when it suggests bounded cultural unities. But when culture is conceptualised in terms of fluid networks of community it becomes possible to analyse not only issues of multiculturalism, but also the ways in which transnational regulation serves social networks that extend beyond the boundaries of nation states.
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