Culture and the Judiciary : The Anthropologist Judge book cover
1st Edition

Culture and the Judiciary
The Anthropologist Judge

ISBN 9781138359833
Published November 29, 2018 by Routledge
270 Pages

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Book Description

How can jurists resolve multicultural conflicts? Which kind of questions should judges ask when culture enters the horizon of the law? Are they then called to become anthropologists? Through the analysis of hundreds of cases produced through decades of multicultural jurisprudence, this book reconstructs the constitutional and anthropological narratives and the legal techniques used by Western judges to face the challenges posed by multiculturalism: from Japanese parent–child suicide to the burqa, from Jewish circumcision to Roma begging, from kissing a son on his genitals to the claim of indigenous people to fish salmon in natural parks, the book brings the reader into a fascinating journey at the crux of the encounter between the relativism of anthropology and the endeavor toward a democratic coexistence pursued by the law. After identifying the recurrent themes or topoi used by judges and lawyers, this book critically analyzes them, evaluates their persuasive power and suggests a "cultural test" that gathers together the crucial questions to be answered when resolving a multicultural dispute. The "cultural test" is a matrix that guides the judge, lawyers and legislatures across the intricate paths of multiculturalism, to assure a relational dialogue between the law and anthropology.

Table of Contents

Introduction;  Part I: Descriptive analysis: the use of culture by judges;  1: In medias res: the cases;  2: The resolution of multicultural conflicts in Western comparative jurisprudence: in search of a common tradition and reliable legal techniques;  Part II: Deconstructive analysis: a critical reading of culture;  3: Concepts of culture in anthropology and judicial reasoning;  Part III: Prescriptive analysis: a proposal of a cultural test;  4: A test as contribution to the resolution of multicultural conflicts;  Conclusions;  Appendices; References

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Ilenia Ruggiu is Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Cagliari. She holds a PhD in European and Public Law from the University of Palermo. She is the author of Interpreting Culture in Italian Courts: A Proposal of a Cultural Test (LEHR 2016).


`This book is a must-read for judges and lawyers who want to deepen their anthropological knowledge and ready themselves to face the challenges posed by the multicultural transformation of their societies.’

Giacinto Bisogni, Judge, Italian Court of Cassation


`Ruggiu belongs to the school that believes that once one has identified a complex problem our task is to seek solutions. The school I belong to identifies a complex problem and then shows how much more complex it is. I teach Law & Culture and am aware of the complexity. The book was enriching in making me realize how much even more complex it is.  No small feat'. ̶ `10 Good Reads’, J. H. H. Weiler, New York University School of Law; Co-Editor-in-Chief, I·CON