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8 Cultural Identity and Legal Status: or, the Return of the Right to Have (Particular) Rights

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Chapter Summary

No state is culture-neutral; nor does it wish to be, given that some shared collective identity is believed to be necessary for the creation and maintenance of the state-focused community, as circumscribed by national citizenship. Calls for culturally differentiated rights on the basis of a distinction between equality in law and effective equality have placed states on the defensive. This chapter shows it is in part through public discourse on and legal oversight of such state recognition-as well as by constant re-evaluation of the content of religious and other freedoms-that the content of cultural rights plays out at state level. Thus, at least in Europe, it is domestic laws on minorities and nationality, and their indirect assessment by European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), that are determinative of the kind of rights to be protected, not to mention of the groups and individuals to whom such protection will be extended.

Keywords: collective identity; cultural rights; domestic laws; European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR); human rights; legal status



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