Multiculturalism and legal autonomy for cultural minorities
Keywords:multiculturalism, law, minorities, liberalism, legal pluralism
Does multiculturalism imply that certain cultural minorities – nomos groups, whose cultural conceptions extend in important ways into views about the law – should have forms of legal autonomy that go beyond normal multicultural accommodations such as exemptions and special protection? In other words: should we allow «minority jurisdictions» for multicultural reasons and give certain minorities powers of legislation and adjudication on certain issues? The paper sketches how one might arrive at such a conclusion given some standard multicultural reasoning, and then proceeds by examining eight key rejoinders to such a proposal. None of these rejoinders provide by themselves knockdown arguments against extending multicultural rights to forms of legal autonomy, but together they do provide a basis for some skepticism about the cogency and desirability of at least more ambitious forms of legal autonomy for cultural minorities within a liberal framework.