Pluralism in Ghana: The Perils and Promise of Parallel Law

Oregon Review of International Law, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2008

Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2010

29 Pages Posted: 14 May 2010  

Johanna Bond

Washington and Lee University - School of Law

Date Written: May 13, 2010

Abstract

Many states have recognized that minority groups require accommodation to protect them from domination by the majority. Some states have responded by implementing accommodationist policies that cede jurisdiction over certain matters, such as family law, to the minority group. Many multicultural theorists have embraced accommodation as the best way to protect minority groups from oppression by the state. A number of feminists, however, have raised concerns that these accommodationist policies actually increase the vulnerability of women within those accommodated minority communities. In her book Multicultural Jurisdictions, Ayelet Shachar has made a valuable contribution to the theoretical debates surrounding state accommodation of multiculturalism. Shachar's theory is grounded in the important insight that women have complex identities and multiple affiliations, including the state and the community. Because any theory is best evaluated as applied in specific cases, this Essay explores the application of Shachar's theory to the Ghanaian legal system. As a post-colonial plural legal system, Ghana provides a useful case study that includes both state accommodation in some areas of family law and uniform state laws in other areas of family law. Although only one example, Ghana has attempted to reconcile the needs of its ethnic communities to enjoy some level of self-regulation and the need of the state to protect the individual rights of all Ghanaians.

Keywords: Gender, Human Rights, Africa

JEL Classification: K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Bond, Johanna, Pluralism in Ghana: The Perils and Promise of Parallel Law (May 13, 2010). Oregon Review of International Law, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2008; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1607129

Johanna Bond (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University - School of Law ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

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