Understanding Culture for Comparative Law

17 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2015

Date Written: October 4, 2015


Misunderstandings of the concept of culture are responsible for many difficulties in comparative law. A general talk of a culture can only be distorting or empty, any meaningful talk must be based on specific elements of the culture. Cultural elements are different in their relevance to the problem of life and law, and the enquires into cultural influences upon law must therefore be based upon the relevancy of a particular element to a particular law. The insider’s view as the appropriate way to understand a culture is a fallacy; the outsider’s view is the only way possible to understand a culture. It is another common wrong to take culture as purely subjective construction, the objectivity of cultural elements is essential for the proper understanding of a culture and the methodological improvement of comparative law.

Keywords: Cultural element, relevancy, outsider's view, objectivity

Suggested Citation

Qian, Xiangyang, Understanding Culture for Comparative Law (October 4, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2669303 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2669303

Xiangyang Qian (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, Scotland EH8 9JY
United Kingdom

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