Multiculturalism and legal autonomy for cultural minorities


  • Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen Philosophy, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication/Department of Food and Resource Economics, Copenhagen University



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.


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How to Cite

Juul Nielsen, M. E. (2013). Multiculturalism and legal autonomy for cultural minorities. Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics, 7(2), 67-84.



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