Perspectives on Politics



BOOK REVIEWS: COMPARATIVE POLITICS

Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities


Donna E.  Arzt  a1
a1 Syracuse University College of Law

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Communities and Law: Politics and Cultures of Legal Identities. By Gad Barzilai. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003. 314p. $65.00.

This recent monograph—at least five years in preparation—might better be described as a doubleheader. While professing to be an original tract of communitarian political theory, it happens to utilize three communities in Israel to illustrate its multiple theses. This is the twenty-first publication in the interdisciplinary “Law, Meaning and Violence” series edited by Martha Minow, Austin Sarat, and Elaine Scarry, which explores how law's narratives, practices, and institutions embody and give voice to power and violence. The volume recently won the Yonathan Shapiro Prize for the best book in Israel Studies from the Association of Israel Studies. But instead of concentrating on the otherwise ubiquitous topic of Israel's national security vis-à-vis the occupied territories, it highlights the social and political rights and identities of insular, internal minority groups that choose between legal action and violence when confronted with state power.



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