Gender and Justice in Multicultural Liberal States explores the challenges that culturally plural liberal states face when they hold competing political commitments to cultural rights and sexual equality, and advances an argument for resolving such dilemmas through democratic dialogue and negotiation. Exploring recent examples of gendered cultural conflicts in South Africa, Canada, and Britain, this book shows that there is an urgent need for workablestrategies to mediate the antagonisms between the cultural practices and arrangements of certain ethno-cultural and religious groups and the norms and constitutional rights endorsed by liberal states. Yet such strategies will be successful only insofar as they can resolve conflicts without either reinforcingwomen's subordination within cultural communities or unjustly dismissing calls for cultural recognition and forms of self-governance. To this end, the book develops an approach to mediating cultural tensions that takes seriously the demands of justice by cultural and religious minorities in liberal democratic states. Grounded in an argument for democratic legitimacy, this approach invokes norms of political inclusion and democratic dialogue, and highlights negotiation and compromise as thebest vehicles for arriving at resolutions to conflicts of cultural value. However, it also reconceives the basis of democratic legitimacy so as to include not merely formal expressions of political consent, but also a range of non-formal democratic activity that occur in the private and social spheres,from acts of cultural reinvention and subversion to outright expressions of dissent and cultural refusal.
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