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Doorkeepers of the Law: A Socio-Legal Study of Ethnic Discrimination in Sweden

Banakar, Reza LU (1997) In Socio-Legal Studies
Abstract
Ethnic discrimination, like most other socially pathological practices, does not yield itself easily to legal regulation. On the one hand, it is often difficult to amass evidence and present proof of the unlawful nature of many practices, which are experienced as discriminatory by some citizens. On the other hand, the law is far from the exact, logically coherent, impartial, independent, and effective instrument of social control that is needed to eradicate ethnic discrimination. It is, therefore, hardly surprising if laws aimed to counteract ethnic discrimination tend to end in failure. Experiences from West European and North American countries demonstrate the futility of implementing such legal measures against ethnic discrimination... (More)
Ethnic discrimination, like most other socially pathological practices, does not yield itself easily to legal regulation. On the one hand, it is often difficult to amass evidence and present proof of the unlawful nature of many practices, which are experienced as discriminatory by some citizens. On the other hand, the law is far from the exact, logically coherent, impartial, independent, and effective instrument of social control that is needed to eradicate ethnic discrimination. It is, therefore, hardly surprising if laws aimed to counteract ethnic discrimination tend to end in failure. Experiences from West European and North American countries demonstrate the futility of implementing such legal measures against ethnic discrimination that impose constraints backed by penalties for non-compliance. Some scholars even argue that such laws, which rely on punishment or the threat of punishment, ultimately work in a negative fashion.

Does this mean that ethnic discrimination cannot be harnessed through legal regulation? Or does it mean that the laws enacted to prevent and counteract ethnic discrimination and adverse treatment of ethnic minorities on ethno-cultural grounds have regulatory ‘limitations’? Since this study concerns Sweden, to answer these questions we must pose other questions specific to the Swedish situation. How does, for example, the Swedish Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination process complaints regarding ethnic discrimination? How does the Swedish legal system approach and view ethnically discriminatory behaviour and racist conduct? Finally, how can we maximise the efficacy of laws against ethnic discrimination?

It is against the background of such questions that the study presented in this book has been conducted. Through an examination of a number of cases processed by the Swedish Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination during 1990 and 1995 attempts have been made to describe how the Swedish Act against Ethnic Discrimination (AED) actually works in practice. The final part of this investigation is devoted to examining the possibilities of maximising the efficacy of the AED.

The main part of this book aims to provide a theoretically revised and empirically updated version of an investigation, which was originally presented in Part Three of my doctoral thesis ‘The Dilemma of Law’ (Rättens dilemma, which was published in Swedish in 1994). My intention here is to sharpen the theoretical tools which were first tested in that study and to explore some new avenues that might guide us towards the construction of more effective methods of resolving dilemmas caused by the application of positive law in a multicultural setting. This undertaking is the concern of the final chapter of this book, where the limits of ‘reflexive law’ are examined. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Book/Report
publication status
published
subject
keywords
reflexive law, Sweden, discrimination, socio-legal, Law, ADR, Habermas, communicative action
in
Socio-Legal Studies
pages
161 pages
publisher
Ashgate
ISBN
1-84014-485-8
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
e4ce4140-3af1-4edc-ad76-20fca5a4f6b0 (old id 3632405)
alternative location
http://openlibrary.org/books/OL364229M/The_doorkeepers_of_the_law
date added to LUP
2013-04-11 12:28:49
date last changed
2016-06-29 09:05:08
@book{e4ce4140-3af1-4edc-ad76-20fca5a4f6b0,
  abstract     = {Ethnic discrimination, like most other socially pathological practices, does not yield itself easily to legal regulation. On the one hand, it is often difficult to amass evidence and present proof of the unlawful nature of many practices, which are experienced as discriminatory by some citizens. On the other hand, the law is far from the exact, logically coherent, impartial, independent, and effective instrument of social control that is needed to eradicate ethnic discrimination. It is, therefore, hardly surprising if laws aimed to counteract ethnic discrimination tend to end in failure. Experiences from West European and North American countries demonstrate the futility of implementing such legal measures against ethnic discrimination that impose constraints backed by penalties for non-compliance. Some scholars even argue that such laws, which rely on punishment or the threat of punishment, ultimately work in a negative fashion.<br/><br>
Does this mean that ethnic discrimination cannot be harnessed through legal regulation? Or does it mean that the laws enacted to prevent and counteract ethnic discrimination and adverse treatment of ethnic minorities on ethno-cultural grounds have regulatory ‘limitations’? Since this study concerns Sweden, to answer these questions we must pose other questions specific to the Swedish situation. How does, for example, the Swedish Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination process complaints regarding ethnic discrimination? How does the Swedish legal system approach and view ethnically discriminatory behaviour and racist conduct? Finally, how can we maximise the efficacy of laws against ethnic discrimination?<br/><br>
It is against the background of such questions that the study presented in this book has been conducted. Through an examination of a number of cases processed by the Swedish Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination during 1990 and 1995 attempts have been made to describe how the Swedish Act against Ethnic Discrimination (AED) actually works in practice. The final part of this investigation is devoted to examining the possibilities of maximising the efficacy of the AED.<br/><br>
The main part of this book aims to provide a theoretically revised and empirically updated version of an investigation, which was originally presented in Part Three of my doctoral thesis ‘The Dilemma of Law’ (Rättens dilemma, which was published in Swedish in 1994). My intention here is to sharpen the theoretical tools which were first tested in that study and to explore some new avenues that might guide us towards the construction of more effective methods of resolving dilemmas caused by the application of positive law in a multicultural setting. This undertaking is the concern of the final chapter of this book, where the limits of ‘reflexive law’ are examined.},
  author       = {Banakar, Reza},
  isbn         = {1-84014-485-8},
  keyword      = {reflexive law,Sweden,discrimination,socio-legal,Law,ADR,Habermas,communicative action},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {161},
  publisher    = {Ashgate},
  series       = {Socio-Legal Studies},
  title        = {Doorkeepers of the Law: A Socio-Legal Study of Ethnic Discrimination in Sweden},
  year         = {1997},
}