Intercultural Law, Interdisciplinary Outlines: Lawyering and Anthropological Expertise in Migration Cases Before the Courts
E/C Rivista Telematica dell‟Associazione Italiana di Studi Semiotici, Pp. 1-53, March 2014
53 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2016
Date Written: March 3, 2014
In this essay, 'culture' is understood as 'cultural competence', synonymous to our human talent for endlessly modelling the spaces in which we construct our lives. Thus the legal relevance of cultural differences will be taken as an issue of semiotic distance between the realities of how people live in a cultural pluriverse, and the ways in which institutions and legal structures react. The concern will focus not so much upon cultural symbols as already reified topics of conflict between politically or socially polarized groups, but rather on the daily cultural issues that lie out of sight and yet, perhaps precisely for this reason, become widespread sources of conflict. Bridging the semiotic distance that increases with each encounter of different cultural agents is a semiotic enterprise which aims to invent a new world, one that is open to a functional and transactional coexistence of difference. The undertaking of such an endeavour implies, in my view, a cognitive and ethical commitment rooted, as we shall see, in the semiotic and pragmatic. From this perspective, Otherness — at least in the medium and long term — must be considered to be politically inevitable and undeniable. For it is an integral part of the common future, the Other from us and the Other of us, existing in synchrony.
I propose an intercultural legal approach that aims to bridge two worlds of experiences and thoughts. It intends to interrelate the theoretical analysis of cross-cultural communication between different legal/cultural universes of discourse and the daily interactions of people and practitioners of law. Focusing on the problems faced daily by individuals with differing cultural competences, the legal intercultural approach is designed to assess how to better integrate different ways of life with laws, rules and practical schemes of behaviour. In this field of inquiry, the anthropology of law and intercultural law clearly overlap. Nonetheless, the methodologies and issues of the two disciplines re- main distinct.
Keywords: Interculture, Law, Anthropology, Expertise, Translation
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