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Political TheologiesPublic Religions in a Post-Secular World$
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Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226443

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226443.001.0001

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Can a Minority Retain Its Identity in Law? The 2005 Multatuli Lecture

Can a Minority Retain Its Identity in Law? The 2005 Multatuli Lecture

(p.539) Can a Minority Retain Its Identity in Law? The 2005 Multatuli Lecture
Political Theologies

Job Cohen

Fordham University Press

This chapter addresses the question: Can a minority retain its identity in law? In dealing with the relationship of majorities to minorities, it argues that, historically and in more recent times, the Netherlands has been a nation of minority groups (cities, provinces, pillars, and parties), each in need of pragmatically compromising their interests with regard to those of the changing—and partitioned—majority from which they demarcate themselves economically, geographically, religiously, culturally, and politically. It uses the term “minority” as a descriptive category, while acknowledging that it has come to designate newcomers or worse, “allochthons”, that is to say, newly immigrated ethnic groups, which happen to be mostly Muslims. It argues further that the process of democratization and individualization prepared the Dutch poorly for the need to acknowledge—and deal with—“strangers” and their “difference”. It focuses on the juridical checks and balances and warns against a relentless “juridification” of society as the path to greater equality, integration, and inclusiveness.

Keywords:   Netherlands, minorities, majorities, law, identity, allochthons, Muslims, democratization, checks and balances, juridification

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