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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 118759 Find in a Library
Title: American Cultural Pluralism and Law
Author(s): J Norgren; S Nanda
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 254
Sponsoring Agency: Praeger Publishers
Westport, CT 06881
Publication Number: ISBN 0-275-92696-6
Sale Source: Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road West
Westport, CT 06881
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Drawing on court materials, statutes and codes, and legal ethnographies, this book focuses on how the law has been the instrument for continual negotiations and accommodations between culturally divergent groups and the larger society.
Abstract: As the cases in this book demonstrate, American courts, both State and Federal, have responded inconsistently to the claims of culturally diverse groups. These claims involve both getting in and staying out of the mainstream of American socioeconomic life. The Amish, for example, are outsiders who have been permitted by law to protect their cultural autonomy. Other groups, like the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, some ethnic language groups, Native Americans, and urban nomads, wanted to protect their distinct cultural values and activities, but were only partially permitted to do so. Still other groups, including blacks, Japanese-Americans, women, and homosexuals, were, and to some degree are, outsiders by society's discrimination and have used the court to "get in." Complicating this picture are the many groups who, for various reasons, reject the use of courts to solve their conflicts. Various factors determine the degree to which the dominant culture, reflected in the law and the courts, will accommodate divergent values and minorities. Courts, as representatives of the nation-state, steer a middle course as they calibrate the interests of culturally diverse groups within a social contract that permits and even encourages diversity, but which also demands national unity. 125-item selected bibliography, 9 suggested films, subject index.
Main Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Cultural influences
Index Term(s): American Indians; Asian Americans; Black/African Americans; Religious freedom
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