Concept Note for Cultural Diversity Conference
The WB National University of Juridical Sciences in association with University of Leipzig and other German scholars is organising a three day international conference on Law, Pluralism and Cultural Diversity from 11-13 March 2008. The venue of the conference is the Academic Block of the University.
Cultural pluralism is a reality that the nation-building process in India had to administer. This pluralism practiced and experienced in everyday living can help shape India and its civil society as a role model for all those political communities and international actors being committed to the preservation of cultural diversity. One of the main features of the pluralist aspect of any culture is to understand clearly the role that law plays. This role needs to be understood by looking at the law and society, culture and rights, universalism and cultural relativism debates in a new light. Pluralism today is an issue to reckon with both intra-state as well as inter-state.
This intercultural legal discussion can be inspired by a bifocal perspective: the global and the inter-constitutional one. The latter is based on the method of a sophisticated comparison of constitutions and analysis of all those constitutional norms which have the purpose to preserve the diversity. Eurocentric legal theories claim universal validity and it is important to provide alternative Eastern values that may also claim universal recognition. If globalization means hybridization in locality-coloured and culture-specific forms worldwide, rather than uniformising homogenization, lawyers need to be better equipped to understand the manifold pluralities within and between legal systems as complex entities. According to Menski, our legal life is constituted by the intersection of different legal orders, i.e. by interlegality. This is the phenomenological counterpart of legal pluralism, and a key concept in a post-modern conception of law. Applying law into different circumstances must necessarily take into account soci0-cultural elements. Challenging notions of legal positivism, a legal pluralist approach to the study of all branches of law is essential. It is equally important to emphasize that India had a legal pluralist procedure prior to the coming of colonialism and the presence of customary laws as well as personal laws in independent India would indicate the continuation of pluralism within an otherwise legal centralist paradigm.
A Law and Cultural Diversity Conference is definitely an interesting and relevant academic exercise. There needs to be an interaction of the legal academia and the wider social science academia to discuss the complexities of globalization, plurality, identity-politics, and the response of laws in this cultural context. It is all the more timely because it is necessary to demystify myths that commercial laws or intellectual property laws are culture-neutral. This Conference intends to discuss constitutional law, business laws, intellectual property law regime, criminal laws, and also procedures of alternative dispute resolution keeping legal pluralism as its theoretical point of departure. A German-Indian dialogue on these issues would be intellectually stimulating and generate a process of knowledge creation.
Event from : 17 February 2009
Event to : 14 March 2009
Events Venue : The WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkota
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