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Communities and Law

Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities

Gad Barzilai

Publication Year: 2003

Communities and Law looks at minorities, or nonruling communities, and their identity practices under state domination in the midst of globalization. It examines six sociopolitical dimensions of community--nationality, social stratification, gender, religion, ethnicity, and legal consciousness--within the communitarian context and through their respective legal cultures. Gad Barzilai addresses such questions as: What is a communal legal culture, and what is its relevance for relations between state and society in the midst of globalization? How do nonliberal communal legal cultures interact with transnational American-led liberalism? Is current liberalism, with its emphasis on individual rights, litigation, and adjudication, sufficient to protect pluralism and multiculturalism? Why should democracies encourage the collective rights of nonruling communities and protect nonliberal communal cultures in principle and in practice? He looks at Arab-Palestinians, feminists, and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel as examples of the types of communities discussed. Communities and Law contributes to our understanding of the severe tensions between democracies, on the one hand, and the challenge of their minority communities, on the other, and suggests a path toward resolving the resulting critical issues. Gad Barzilai is Professor of Political Science and Law and Co-Director of the Law, Politics and Society Program, Department of Political Science, Tel Aviv University.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Law, Meaning, and Violence


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p. ix

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Introduction: Conceptual Framework and Structure

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pp. 1-12

This book is about law and culture as major pillars in state-society relations. More accurately, it is about legal cultures in nonruling communities. To comprehend and examine communal legal cultures as key phenomena in politics, this book develops a concept that I call critical communitarianism. This...

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Chapter 1. Legal Cultures, Communities, and Democratic Political Cultures

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pp. 13-57

Democracy requires the fulfillment of a number of prerequisites, two of which are pivotal: first, open and peaceful elections with the participation of at least two rival candidates, with guaranteed realization of electoral results; and, second, a political culture that sanctifies and realizes community and individual rights. What we call a rooted democracy should display a political culture...

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Chapter 2. State Legal Culture: Domination, Identities, and the Politics of Rights

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pp. 59-96

Israel’s state law articulates the dominant values and organizational interests of Judaism and Zionism, which are the two main principles of state ideology. State law is not merely a reflection of the state’s narration processes. Rather, it plays a major constitutive role in shaping values, norms, and political practices...

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Chapter 3. The Arab-Palestinian Community in a Jewish (and Democratic) State

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pp. 97-146

This chapter primarily examines the legal consciousness and practices of identity among the Arab-Palestinian minority. State law excludes the minority by framing it as religious groups that are entitled to a confined religious and juridical autonomy. Yet the community has essentially been placed outside state power foci, which allocate collective goods. Hence, this chapter is not a story about the sanctioning of legal pluralism but is about its suppression in the midst...

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Chapter 4. Feminism, Community, and Law

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pp. 147-208

My analysis of the legal culture of feminists entails the need for feminist communitarianism. Feminist communitarianism is not an oxymoron. Feminists and communitarians have ascribed significance to social reciprocity and criticize the private-public dichotomy while underscoring a contextually embedded self (Frazer and Lacey 1993). Yet, nonfeminist communitarians have neglected gender...

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Chapter 5. Religious Fundamentalism and Law: The Jewish Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Community and Legal Culture

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pp. 209-278

Chapter 3 examined critical communitarianism concerning the legal culture of a national minority. Chapter 4 explored the legal culture of feminists who protest against male dominance. I have explored these cases while referring to state domination, transnational American-led liberalism, and state-community relations. This chapter...

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Chapter 6. Conclusions: The Return to the Communal Space

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pp. 279-311

“Globalization” has penetrated a popular eschatology among more than a few academics. As I showed in chapter 1, the essence and meaning of that faith is unclear, as human beings conceive of globalization in many contradictory ways. If globalization means the triumph of American liberalism as the sole criterion for the advancement of human rights (based on the reduction of central...


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pp. 313-349


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pp. 351-370

E-ISBN-13: 9780472024001
E-ISBN-10: 0472024000
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472030798
Print-ISBN-10: 0472030795

Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 3 drawings, 13 tables
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Law, Meaning, and Violence
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OCLC Number: 588843702
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Communities and Law