The Cultural Offense: How and Why Plaintiffs Bring Cultural Claims to Court
The Journal Jurisprudence, p. 275, 2009
31 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 8, 2012
Recent literature on culture in the courtroom has tended to focus on cultural defenses to criminal charges. Sometimes, however, it is civil plaintiffs who bring cultural issues into the courtroom. In these cases, plaintiffs seek to introduce evidence of their own culture in order to explain why a defendant's act was offensive, or why the act may have caused the damage it did. This article explores some of the many different ways that plaintiffs use cultural claims, and some of the difficulties inherent to weighing a plaintiff's beliefs against the rights and demands of other individuals, groups, and the state.
Keywords: culture, anthropologists, court, plaintiff, first amendment, group libel, free exercise, aboriginal, copyright
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