22 March 2010

Ashgate on cultural diversity and law

I'm embarassed to note that I've only just become aware of the Cultural Diversity and Law series published by Ashgate. The Series Editor is Prakash Shah of the School of Law of Queen Mary, University of London (UK). The series' description--there's also a short interview with Dr Shah--reads:

Around the world, most states are faced with difficult issues arising out of cultural diversity in their territories. Within the legal field such issues span from matters of private law to those of public and constitutional law. At international level too there is now considerable jurisprudence attracting incisive analysis. In addition, there are several layers of legal control - from communal and religious regulation to state and international regulation. This legal pluralism, inter-legality or inter-normativity provides fascinating areas of academic inquiry that link up to cultural diversity in new and interesting ways. The umbrella of cultural diversity encompasses various population groups throughout the world ranging from national, ethnic, religious or indigenous groupings. This series particularly welcomes work that is of comparative interest, concerning both various state jurisdictions as well as population groups.

There are so far two titles in the series. The latest is Jørgen S Nielsen and Lisbet Christoffersen (eds), Shari‘a as discourse: legal traditions and the encounter with Europe (2010). The abstract reads:

This volume exposes some of the various issues raised in relation to Muslim communities in Europe by putting the intellectual and legal traditions into dialogue. It brings together a number of scholars of Shari‘a and Islamic law with counterparts from the parallel European disciplines of hermeneutics, philosophy and jurisprudence, to explore how the processes of theological-legal thinking have been expressed and are being expressed in a more or less common intellectual framework. It provides a valuable reference for all those interested in exploring how Muslims and non-Muslims view Shari‘a law, looking at ways the European legal systems can provide some form of accommodation with Muslim customs.

The first title was Ralph Grillo, Roger Ballard, Alessandro Ferrari, André Hoekema, Marcel Maussen, and Prakash Shah (eds), Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity (2009). The abstract reads:

Legal Practice and Cultural Diversity considers how contemporary cultural and religious diversity challenges legal practice, how legal practice responds to that challenge, and how practice is changing in the encounter with the cultural diversity occasioned by large-scale, post-war immigration. Locating actual practices and interpretations which occur in jurisprudence and in public discussion, this volume examines how the wider environment shapes legal processes and is in turn shaped by them. In so doing, the work foregrounds a number of themes principally relating to changing norms and practices and sensitivity to cultural and religious difference in the application of the law. Comparative in approach, this study places particular cases in their widest context, taking into account international and transnational influences on the way in which actors, legal and other, respond.

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