Critical Junctures, Religion, and Personal Status Regulations in Israel and India
29 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2014
The article aims at advancing our understanding of critical junctures in the evolution of religious/secular regulations, referring to those moments in history when one particular arrangement is adopted among several alternatives, establishing an institutional trajectory that is resistant to change in the following years. It traces the regulation of personal status laws in Israel and India, which, despite attempts by political leaders at time of independence to defer clear choices regarding the role of religious law, became generally entrenched in later decades. Based on the Israeli and Indian cases, and in contrast with common approaches, the article demonstrates how decisions made by influential political actors during the foundational stage of the state appear difficult to reform, regardless of the content of these decisions — whether they introduce a radical change or maintain existing practices — or the level of decision making — whether constitutional or ordinary parliamentary legislation.
Keywords: critical junctures, personal law, religion, constitutions, India, Israel
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