By Gad Barzilai
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Additional resources for Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities (Law, Meaning, and Violence)
This erroneously assumes that communal practices are transcendent and marginal to constitutional models of democracy. However, liberalism does not necessarily ignore communities (see the prominent works of Gans 2000; Raz 1994; and Smith 1997); while it recognizes their existence, it generally conceives of communities as ontologically subordinate to individuals and individual liberty. Hence, liberalism does not apprehend communities as self-generating entities embodied in collective identities, consciousness, practices, conceptions of the public good, or communal needs and rights (Dworkin 1992).
While the reactive state withdraws from direct confrontation with civil social forces by applying liberal or libertarian policies, the active state is much less inclined to remain so distant from the daily lives of its citizens. Thus, it is erroneous to assume that in reactive states the ruling elite and its apparatuses do not influence legal cultures. As we shall see, no communal legal culture is immune from state domination. For example, Palestinian citizens of Israel, while dissenting from many facets of state ideology, tend to legitimate some aspects of Israel’s legal system.
He has also hypothesized that alternatively local communities can globalize their cultures (Santos 1995). The first process entails the Cultures, Communities, & Democratic Political Cultures 41 localization of globalization, the second the globalization of locality. Following Santos, I hypothesize a similar process concerning the politics of identities in communal legal cultures. Accordingly, communities can localize the contemporary international language of human rights, reshape communal practices, and thereby raise claims designed to anchor their local identities in state law.