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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: June 2012

1 - Cultural Law: An Introduction

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Summary

The Cultural Dimension of the Legal Process

Legal issues may lead multiple lives. They can be political, economic, social, historical, or cultural. Normally, the particular classification of an issue, in the abstract, is not so important. What is important, however, is to understand how a particular nonlegal dimension may condition the analysis of an issue and the appropriate response to it. Gaining this understanding is a matter not only of viewpoint or specialized information but also of professional skill. It is a skill that is best acquired by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the manifold ways in which a particular dimension of human experience – for our purposes, the cultural dimension – affects the legal process.

The first two chapters in this book address the problem of cultural conflict, the interaction of culture and law, a working definition of cultural law, and the characteristics of both culture and law. The remaining chapters examine the interaction of culture and law in specific contexts of cultural expressions, practices, and activities such as art, traditional knowledge, sports, and religion.

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