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Emblems of Pluralism:
Cultural Differences and the State
Carol Weisbrod

Paperback | 2002 | $37.50 | £31.95 | ISBN: 9780691089256
232 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400825431 |
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From outlawing polygamy and mandating public education to protecting the rights of minorities, the framing of group life by the state has been a subject of considerable interest and controversy throughout the history of the United States. The subject continues to be important in many countries. This book deals with state responses to cultural difference through the examination of a number of encounters between individuals, groups, and the state, in the United States and elsewhere. The book opens the concepts of groups and the state, arguing for the complexity of their relations and interpenetrations.

Carol Weisbrod draws on richly diverse historical and cultural material to explore various structures that have been seen as appropriate for adjusting relations between states and internal groups. She considers the experience of the Mormons, the Amish, and Native Americans in the United States, the Mennonites in Germany, and the Jews in Russia to illustrate arrangements and accommodations in different times and places. The Minorities Treaties of the League of Nations, political federalism, religious exemptions, nonstate schools, and rules about adoption are among the mechanisms discussed that sustain cultural difference and create frameworks for group life, and, finally, individual life. At bottom, Emblems of Pluralism concerns not only relations between the state and groups, public and private, but also issues of identity and relations between the self and others.


"In this rich and wide-ranging book, the reader is likely to encounter some stories that are thought-provoking, some of that were previously unfamiliar, and some that put old disputes in a new light."--Keith E. Whittington, The Law and Politics Book Review


"This is an impressive, at times magisterial, book. It provides an unusually sophisticated argument about relations among groups, the state, and law. Forging connections among subjects usually left unconnected, Weisbrod brings together the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the argument about cultural difference and the law. She provides a compelling read and a panoramic view of what she calls the 'negotiation of social uncertainties' that is at the heart of the question of pluralism."--Austin Sarat, author of When the State Kills

"Emblems of Pluralism is an imaginative and thought-provoking study. Weisbrod sensitively examines differing views of the relationship between the state and the groups and communities that shape our experience of everyday life. Navigating between prominent and obscure historical figures and between landmark Supreme Court decisions and little-known cases, this important book challenges the reader to reconsider conventional ideas about pluralism and the law."--David Engel, Director, Christopher Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, SUNY Buffalo

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
PART ONE: Monumental Federalism
1. Owen in America: Ambiguities in the Concept of the Federal System 17
2. Indians and Individualists: A Multiplicity of Sovereignties 30
3. An Imperium in Imperio: The Mormon Empire and Later Developments 46
4. Another Yoder Case: The Separatist Community and the Dissenting Individual 65
5. Melting Pots and Pariah Peoples 80
PART TWO: The Peaceable Kingdom
6. Theoreticians: Questions Left Open 101
7. The Minority Treaties of the League of Nations 119
8. The Debate over Education: Truth, Peace, Citizenship 138
9. Children and Groups: Problems in Fact and in Theory 157
10. Negotiating the Frameworks: The Problem of the Sensitive Citizen 178
Conclusion 203
Index 211


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