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Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity$
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Will Kymlicka, Claes Lernestedt, and Matt Matravers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199676590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676590.001.0001

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Cultural Defense and the Criminal Law

Cultural Defense and the Criminal Law

Chapter:
(p.104) 6 Cultural Defense and the Criminal Law
Source:
Criminal Law and Cultural Diversity
Author(s):

Bhikhu Parekh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199676590.003.0006

This chapter situates issues of cultural defenses within a broader theory about conflicts of value between minorities and the majority. It highlights the many ways that the criminal law rests not just on universal principles, but also upon the particularistic cultural understandings of the dominant group. Against this background, a partial cultural defense can play a valuable role. Such a defense would need to be understood in the context of conflicts of value between majorities and minorities, and addressed through extensive discussion and argument, rather than the unilateral or coercive imposition of one side’s values on the other. Creating legal space for a cultural defense would not only help track personal blameworthiness but also provide a useful forum for intercultural, future-oriented learning.

Keywords:   blameworthiness, criminal law, cultural defense, intercultural conflict, minorities

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