Culture in Law and Development: Nurturing Positive Change by Lan CaoCulture in Law and Development: Nurturing Positive Change by Lan Cao

Culture in Law and Development: Nurturing Positive Change

byLan Cao

Hardcover | June 13, 2016

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The growth of international law in the post-World War II era stemmed partly from the belief that universal norms would make life for the entire world's population safer, more equitable, and more conducive to each person's acquisition of basic material needs. Starting in the sixties andseventies, some scholars and activists challenged this assumption and established the school of "cultural relativism," a model that pays deference to local cultural traditions and favors them over international human rights norms. Scholars tried to create and practice a middle-ground approachbetween universalism and relativism, whereby the most egregious violations would be prevented through assimilating only jus cogens norms into indigenous groups' existing cultural traditions. Such efforts at combining a few select international norms with local cultural traditions largely failed. Culture in Law and Development presents a provocative new solution to the seemingly intractable problem of combining international norms with local cultural traditions by changing culture through law and development. In this book, Lan Cao demonstrates how the gradual expansion of customaryinternational law (CIL) provides a model for changing culture in ways that protect and advance local populations. The book adopts a holistic view of development and argues that cultural norms that impede the human capabilities of the poor, women, and other marginal groups should be changed. The bookreveals how a more conscious, coordinated effort on such change can succeed while non-violative local traditions are otherwise honored and preserved. Cao proposes that cultural change does not have to constitute cultural disrespect, and that local societies only benefit by a careful combination ofexternally wrought change and internally fostered tradition.
Lan Cao is the Betty Hutton Williams Professor of International Economic Law at Chapman University. She joined the Dale E. Fowler School of Law in 2013. Previously, she was on the faculty at William and Mary Law School for more than a decade. She has also served on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. Her...
Title:Culture in Law and Development: Nurturing Positive ChangeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:552 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:June 13, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199915237

ISBN - 13:9780199915231

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Editorial Reviews

"Lan Cao's book emphasizes that informal institutions and social practice matter as much as rules and law, and she offers invaluable guidance to policymakers seeking to assist post-conflict societies and jumpstart economic development. She persuasively argues that this cannot be done withouttaking account of culture and trauma -engaging a society with sympathy and internal understanding, while conceding how hard it is for an outsider to facilitate change. The current chaos in the world instructs that there is no end to history - and that a sense of poetry may be necessary to interveneeffectively in mitigating the hardship of the poor." --Ruth Wedgwood, Edward Burling Professor of International Law and Diplomacy, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C., and former U.S. member, United Nations Human Rights Committee