When I was enrolled in the “National Programme” in the Faculty of Law at McGill University in the early 1980s, having just completed a master’s degree in anthropology at Oxford University, I could not get my anthropological training out of my head (fortunately). “Legal reasoning” is supposed to be independent of cultural bias, a hermeneutic unto itself, yet I saw cultural influences at work everywhere in the caselaw I read. I also became interested in analyzing how various “icons” of Canadian culture could be interpreted through the lens of the constitution. The latter interest led to the writing of the chapters in Parts I and II of this work, while my fascination with excavating the cultural underpinnings of legal reasoning issued in a series of essays which adopted an anthropological approach to the study of Ontario and Quebec legal history, and the elaboration of a paradigm for a “cross-cultural jurisprudence” attuned to the increasingly multicultural reality of contemporary Canadian society. Links to a selection of these essays can be found below.
From Polyjurality to Monjurality: The Transformation of Quebec Law, 1875-1929 (html)
Maladroit or Not? (pdf)
Culture in the Domains of Law: Introduction to Cross-Cultural Jurisprudence
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