Legal Pluralism

Legal Pluralism

  • H.G. Callaway added an answer:
    Whither multiculturalism? How are we to best understand multiculturalism, and is it a good or bad thing for each multi-ethnic country?

    Whither multiculturalism?

    How are we to best understand multiculturalism, and is it good or bad thing for each multi-ethnic country?

    Though he applauds the encounters and broadening of the people of differing societies and cultural backgrounds as positive, Kenan Malik, a British intellectual of Indian background has recently offered the following criticism of what is called “political” or “state multiculturalism”

    As a political process, however, multiculturalism means something very different. It describes a set of policies, the aim of which is to manage diversity by putting people into ethnic boxes, defining individual needs and rights by virtue of the boxes into which people are put, and using those boxes to shape public policy. It is a case, not for open borders and minds, but for the policing of borders, whether physical, cultural or imaginative.

    ---end quotation

    Whether multiculturalism is a good or bad thing, Malik describes the division of opinion:

    It's a question to which the answers have become increasingly polarised in recent years. For some, multiculturalism expresses the essence of a modern, liberal society. For others, it has helped create an anxious, fragmented nation.

    ---end quotation


    H.G. Callaway · Temple University

    Mainz, Germany

    Dear Fung,

    Readers of your posting may want to take a look at the following short video, which explains something of Tuckman's group development model:

    As I understand the model, this basically has to do with a team working together as common employees and how management can bring them into greater harmony. This means that we are basically asking about the development of cooperation and group effectiveness regarding people, however different in background, interacting on a one-to-one basis.

    I doubt the applicability of the model to societies formed of conflicting ethnic and racial groups, where, as in multiculturalism, great emphasis is placed upon group identity and distinctiveness. Instead of solving problems on a one-to-one basis, there will be the additional option of refusing to cooperate and appealing to one's own identity group for support.People join up in an identity group and fight the others.

    I take it that this is the root of sectarian conflict, as we see this around the world, which persists on the assumption that if another group holds the upper hand, then one's own group--and your children-- will only get the leavings and dregs. Take the same groups members, however, and distribute them into a larger population, and the groups identities will tend to break down and cooperation on a one-to-one basis may begin to emerge. There will then be some degree of mutual assimilation. But as long as hardened groups identities persist, this discourages one-to-one relations across the lines dividing the groups.

    In consequence, I find your analogy between the development of cooperation in a group of employees and resolutions among conflicting multicultural groups somewhat strained. Indeed, this may be the basic reason that multiculturalism has been so broadly rejected of late: it is, say the critics, destructive of social  integration.

    H.G. Callaway

  • Gustavo Molina Ramos added an answer:
    Is the relationship between extractive industries (such as mining or oil companies) and indigenous populations, a scene of legal pluralism?

    The legal pluralism accept the idea that coexist more than one juridical system, in the case of indigenous people the have their own juridical system. Extractives industries most of the time relate with this particular juridical system. Which is the role of the state in this relationship? 

    Gustavo Molina Ramos · Casa de la Cultura Jurídica, Cancún, México

    De conformidad con el Convenio 69 de la OIT, los pueblos indígenas tienen derecho a participar en la toma de decisiones relacionadas con su entorno y con cualquier cuestión que pudiere afectar su forma de vida tradicional y sus territorios ancestrales.

    El reconocimiento de la multiculturalidad y el consecuente derecho a la preservación de la cultura que tienen todos los grupos humanos,  me parece que es un derecho humano de máxima prioridad, sobre todo si se le confronta con derechos relacionados con la posibilidad de hacer negocio de una empresa, de manera que en caso de conflicto debe prevalecer el derecho a la preservación de la propia cultura que tiene el grupo indígena, contra el derecho a la explotación económica de un yacimiento minero. 

About Legal Pluralism

Legal pluralism is the existence of multiple legal systems within one geographic area. Legal recognition of ethnic minority religious and cultural traditions in western lliberal democratic countries.

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