Community, Culture, and Criminalization

Nicola Lacey

in Crime, Punishment, and Responsibility

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592814
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729034 | DOI:
Community, Culture, and Criminalization

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This chapter sets out from Duff's Punishment, Communication and Community (2001), and poses the question of whether it is possible to pursue the goal of a criminal law which realises the values and represents the interests of a ‘liberal community’ in a world of radical value pluralism. It examines this question by means of a case study: that of the cultural defence. Over the last twenty years, advocates of the cultural defence have argued that normative considerations of political morality dictate that differences in experience and world-view should modify the way in which criminal law is applied, potentially adjusting the standard applied to individuals. How convincing, the chapter asks, is this argument? Can it be reconciled with Duff's liberal communitarian vision of criminal justice? And, to the extent that it cannot be so reconciled, the chapter asks, does this undermine the case for the cultural defence, or rather necessitate a revision of Duff's argument?

Keywords: community; cultural defence; criminalisation; punishment; value pluralism; communitarianism; liberalism

Chapter.  9608 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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