Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

New Developments regarding Legal Cultures in Europe. Exploring Legal Conflicts in the Multicultural Society

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

New Developments regarding Legal Cultures in Europe. Exploring Legal Conflicts in the Multicultural Society

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. The recent changes in some important states within the EU, regarding the concept of multiculturalism demand a thorough analysis of the current state of legal cultures in Europe. Recent legal and social conflicts have arisen and projected some pessimistic view regarding the multicultural society. However, multiculturalism may be considered a factual reality and therefore its place within the system of legal cultures cannot be ignored. Moreover, the interaction of legal cultures that coexist in the same geographical area constitutes an important area of analysis. This article addresses specific issues regarding legal conflicts that may be derived from multiculturalism, by using a systemic approach regarding legal cultures.

Keywords: multiculturalism, cultural pluralism, legal conflicts and cultures

1. Introduction

In the modern society, concepts like multiculturalism, inteculturality or cultural pluralism are vigorously discussed and debated. However, in order to properly assess such concepts in the framework of national legal systems, a brief description of legal cultures is necessary. Legal cultures represent an important element of the normative social systems. Although vaguely defined, legal culture as a concept requires careful analysis, regarding its systemic nature, its axiological and epistemological traits, without neglecting the influences of philosophical influences, as well as sociological and psychological conditionings, which may derive from phylogenetic, ontogenetic and biogenetic perspectives.

Of course, legal cultures cannot be envisioned isolated from the idea of law. Besides culture, law is one of the most important elements of our society. It is therefore important to study its origins, to determine the reasons that determined adoption of legal rules. Law itself may be analyzed through a systemic perspective, as its development has undergone significant changes from its origins until today. Since its inception in Sumerian universe until the present context of international law, the juridical thought has evolved from the concept of "deus cosmocrator," as absolute lawgiver to the quasi-complete secularization of contemporary law. The sanctity of oral rules, passed by word of mouth - real treasures of human protolegal thinking have undergone essential changes, transforming themselves to written law, which has nowadays a more inflexible appearance.

Most of legal theory doctrine agrees that law should be perceived as having two sides. The static side represents the general ideals, intangible to the erosion of time. The dynamic side represents the constant adaptation to the demands of society. Therefore, law plays a bivalent role, of respect, compared to past values and of initiative concerning challenges of the future, recalling in this regard the image of the mystic roman god Janus-Bifrons. If law is an essential component of society and its contribution and influence upon the human society, no less important is the approach of describing the interferences of law and culture, at national and international level.

Cultural rights could be considered, for instance, a result of such interferences. Generally speaking, cultural rights are a set of emerging rights in Europe and internationally. Although initially they were considered of lesser importance, due to their scarce mentioning in international treaties, more and more international organizations grant them great importance. But cultural rights are not the only possible effect of culture and law interaction. Discussions such as those related to: how the members of society relate themselves to legal provisions, attitudes of different nations, both individually and collectively to the national and international regulations, comparative approaches between pecuniary intellectual property rights and cultural rights represent all necessary bases for analysis and could constitute beneficial research for our society.

Undoubtedly, in order to effectively carry out these analyses, we should not overlook some questions that certainly will help to better understand the impact of legal culture. …

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