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Authors

Ofrit Liviatan

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This Article examines the conflict-management role conferred upon the law within Western liberal democracies in the context of cultural tensions involving religious minorities. The Article finds that a threatened hegemonic Christian identity and secular illiberal sentiments disguised in liberal narratives often motivated legislative and judicial actions curtailing the freedom of religious minorities in leading liberal democracies. Based on these findings, this Article challenges the shortcomings of existing liberal scholarship to account for the potential bias presented in the liberal preference to facilitate cultural conflicts through legal means. Yet, the Article suggests that law’s limitations as a neutral vehicle in conflict resolution does not necessarily counteract its ability to manage conflicts. The continued attractiveness of law as the principal conflict-resolution device in liberal democracies springs from its political nature, namely the recognition that shifts in political power could translate into legal change.

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