Can a Minority Retain Its Identity in Law? The 2005 Multatuli Lecture

Job Cohen

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI:
Can a Minority Retain Its Identity in Law? The 2005 Multatuli               Lecture

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This chapter addresses the question: Can a minority retain its identity in law? In dealing with the relationship of majorities to minorities, it argues that, historically and in more recent times, the Netherlands has been a nation of minority groups (cities, provinces, pillars, and parties), each in need of pragmatically compromising their interests with regard to those of the changing—and partitioned—majority from which they demarcate themselves economically, geographically, religiously, culturally, and politically. It uses the term “minority” as a descriptive category, while acknowledging that it has come to designate newcomers or worse, “allochthons”, that is to say, newly immigrated ethnic groups, which happen to be mostly Muslims. It argues further that the process of democratization and individualization prepared the Dutch poorly for the need to acknowledge—and deal with—“strangers” and their “difference”. It focuses on the juridical checks and balances and warns against a relentless “juridification” of society as the path to greater equality, integration, and inclusiveness.

Keywords: Netherlands; minorities; majorities; law; identity; allochthons; Muslims; democratization; checks and balances; juridification

Chapter.  8295 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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