Fabio Macioce

Legal Pluralism, Ethno-Cultural Accomodation, and the Interpretation of Rights

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In this paper I argue that if internal cohesion and ethno-cultural diversity are to be balanced in pluralistic communities, it would be useful to take a hyphenated approach. Such an approach sets the recognition of some group rights and/or some cultural rights next to a judicial mechanism allowing for culturally sensitive interpretations of constitutional principles. I suggest that even if in some social arenas (such as the family, child education, food traditions, and immigration) specific rights can be introduced so as to protect cultural diversities, when that solution turns out to be impossible, a more nuanced system of legal interpretation would be more appropriate. I argue that such a system of legal interpretation is in important respects similar to that of the margin of appreciation, which the European Court of Human Rights adopts in its case law to balance rights and national traditions.


  • Pluralism
  • Group Rights
  • Multiculturalism
  • Interpretation
  • Margin of Appreciation


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