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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19211

Title: Equality of Cultural Identity
Authors: Pinto, Meital
Advisor: Weinrib, Lorraine
Department: Law
Keywords: equality
identity
constitutional law
multiculturalism
language rights
freedom of religion
group rights
Issue Date: 2-Mar-2010
Abstract: I address claims of offence of feelings, religious freedom and language rights, which are all ‎justified by the intrinsic interest individuals attach to their culture. I call them ‘claims from ‎cultural identity’. I develop a conception of substantive equality, understood as distributive ‎justice and underpinned by dignity, for regulating claims from cultural identity in the legal ‎system of multicultural states. I call it Equality of Cultural Identity. ‎ It is a ‘complex equality’ model, which takes cultural identity to be a sphere in ‎peoples’ lives. Unlike majority members, cultural minority members are usually under ‎constant pressure to compromise their cultural identity and assimilate in the majority ‎culture to succeed in other spheres of their lives like education and career. In accordance ‎with Walzer’s theory of Spheres of Justice, I propose a regulative principle to determine ‎the extent of cultural protection minority members deserve, according to which the ‎influence of other spheres of their lives on their sphere of cultural identity should as ‎minimal as possible. ‎ I apply this principle to claims of offence to feeling, which I re-conceptualize as ‎claims from integrity of cultural identity. I suggest the vulnerable identity principle: The ‎more vulnerable a person’s cultural identity, the stronger her claim from integrity of ‎cultural identity. This principle enhances a just distribution of symbolic goods between ‎majority and minority members, is based on objective evaluation standards, and avoids ‎legal moralism. Thus, it overcomes the major liberal worries about regulating speech. ‎ With respect to the language rights and religious freedom, I comparatively analyze ‎them qua cultural rights. I argue that the right to religious freedom, which is generously ‎interpreted by courts, bears all of the allegedly unique features of language rights that are ‎used to support their restrained judicial interpretation. Thus, the existing arguments for ‎their restrained interpretation are not valid. I identify a novel argument for their restrained ‎interpretation, which is that they impose a cultural burden on majority members, but ‎drawing on my conception of equality, I argue that it is not sound as the burden they ‎impose is not great.‎
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19211
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Faculty of Law - Doctoral theses

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