27 December 2013

ARTICLE: Berman on Legal Pluralism

11 International Journal of Constitutional Law 801-808 (2013)  has published Paul Schiff Berman’s, ‘How Legal Pluralism Is and Is Not Distinct from Liberalism: A Response to Dennis Patterson and Alexis Galán’.

Alexis Galan and Dennis Patterson largely accept the descriptive account of plural authority described in my book, Global Legal Pluralism: A Jurisprudence of Law Beyond Borders. However, they are concerned that my normative argument for procedural mechanisms, institutional designs, and discursive practices for managing pluralism is simply liberalism in another guise and not pluralist enough. Given that pluralists are usually criticized from the opposite side for an approach that results in too much fragmentation and destabilization, I am in some sense happy to welcome this new critique. After all, a position cannot easily be simultaneously too radical and not radical enough. Nevertheless, while there is clearly a liberal bias at its core, I don't think it's true that the pluralist vision I espouse is solely liberalism in disguise. Accordingly, in this brief response, I sketch out ways in which the proceduralist pluralism I advocate, while it is not necessarily incompatible with liberalism, at least shifts the emphasis to a set of values that are not always fully captured in the design of liberal procedures and institutions.

The article is available here.

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