This book examines the everyday judicial experience in four multicultural jurisdictions as a means of exploring the relationship between legal systems and cultural identities. Increasing social heterogeneity has deeply affected legal systems as courts and parliaments must now deal with a growing rate of cases concerning cultural pluralism. Headline grabbing disputes usually concern challenges to fundamental rights and principles which may be put at risk by some religious or cultural practices. These are difficult issues questioning the compatibility between some cultural and religious practices and constitutional values. However, much of the interaction between law and cultural pluralism also concerns daily life activities, which do not necessarily challenge fundamental rights.
This book deals with food, clothing and days of rest: three expressions of both human needs and identity, which are based on ethnic origin, tradition, culture, religion or, simply, taste. The volume looks at the intersection between these choices and constitutional rights such as religious liberty, or freedom of expression. It aims to understand how the state legal system deals with them and when non-mainstreaming behaviours are accommodated. Four legal systems are taken into consideration: the United States of America, Canada, Franc, and Italy, exploring similarities and differences in facing cultural diversity around these quotidian issues. The book pays particular attention to the places where diversity is most apparent and also considers the choices that are not based on religious precepts, but rather on “personal philosophy”.
The book will be of interest to researchers, academics and policy-makers working in the areas of Constitutional Law, Law and Cultural Diversity, Human Rights, Minority Rights and Discrimination Law.