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Religion and Constitutional Practices in Asia: Five ‘Cs’ for Reflection

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2018

National University of Singapore, Faculty of Law,
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In considering the articles in this Special Issue, I am struck by the importance of a set of factors that, in my view, both run through the articles like a leitmotif, as well as shape the major ‘take away’ lesson(s) from the articles. In this short commentary, I elaborate on these factors and the lesson(s) to take from them through five ‘Cs’: context; complexity; contestation; the framework of constitutions; and the role of comparative law. The first three ‘Cs’ are lessons from the case studies of the articles themselves, while the second two ‘Cs’ are offered as lessons to help take the dialogue forward. Fundamentally, these five ‘Cs’ highlight the importance of the articles in this Special Issue and the conference from which they emerged on the one hand, while on the other hand, also making us aware of what are the limits of what we should conclude from the individual articles. In other words, taken together, the five ‘Cs’ are, one might say, lessons about lessons.

Article Commentary
© National University of Singapore, 2018 

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Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.


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2. See for eg the Cambridge University Press Series on ‘Law in Context’ <> accessed 2 July 2018 and the International Journal of Law in Context <> accessed 2 July 2018.

3. Jaakko Husa, ‘Comparison’ (2018) Helsinki Legal Studies Research Paper 51, 5 <> accessed 2 July 2018 (forthcoming in Law, David S and Langford, Malcolm (eds), Research Methods in Constitutional Law: A Handbook (Edward Elgar Publishing 2018))Google Scholar .

4. Dian AH Shah, ‘Religion, Child Conversions and Custody Battles in Malaysia’ (Religion and Constitutional Practices in Asia Conference, Colombo, 9–10 November 2017) 20.

5. Shamshad Pasarlay, ‘Constitutional Incrementalism in a Religiously Divided Society: The Case of Afghanistan’, this Special Issue, xx.

6. Matthew Nelson, ‘Indian Basic Structure Jurisprudence in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Reconfiguring the Constitutional Politics of Religion’, this Special Issue, xx.

7. Shah (n 4) 21.

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9. ibid 13.

10. ibid 47.

11. ibid 45.

12. Cotterrell, Roger , ‘Why Jurisprudence Is Not Legal Philosophy’ (2014) 5 Jurisprudence 41Google Scholar . See also Brian Bix, ‘Bricolage Jurisprudence’ (Jurisprudence JOTWELL, 24 April 2015) <> accessed 2 July 2018 (reviewing Roger Cotterrell, ‘Why Jurisprudence Is Not Legal Philosophy’ (2014) 5 Jurisprudence 41);

13. Cotterrell, Sociological Jurisprudence (n 8) 167.

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19. ibid 12.

20. ibid 12–13.

21. Patrick Glenn, H , ‘A Concept of Legal Tradition’ (2008-2009) 34 Queen’s Law Journal 427, 431Google Scholar .

22. The idea of resting points with respect to religion, and more specifically with respect to freedom of religion as an oft-invoked constitutional norm, is discussed in Jamal, Arif A , ‘Considering freedom of religion in a post-secular context: hapless or hopeful?’ (2017) 6 (3) Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 433, 449CrossRefGoogle Scholar .