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Title: Occidental legality, imagined geographies, and law : implications for recognition, diversity and minorities in liberal societies
Author: Gilani, Sabrina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 3765
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis discusses how imagined geographies are made real through structures of political and legal governance. Using a method of historical literary analysis, this thesis analyses how geographic space was imagined by European voyagers, explorers, and political agents during the first encounters between European and non-European people in the mid-fifteenth century. It traces how this – owned, bounded, culturally-divisible – notion of geographic space was later operationalised through political and legal structures of governance in the colonial and postcolonial setting. I use the term Occidental Legality to refer to these spatialising tendencies and demonstrate how they produce a vision of space that we now associate with ‘territory’. This thesis reveals how an owned, bounded, and culturally-divisible notion of space emerges time and again through contemporary cultural geographies, in particular the Aboriginal Reservation, the ‘protected areas’ of national parks, and the public/private divide. Over the course of this work I trace how geographies are the product of jurisdictional struggles between normative communities, and demonstrate how colonial geographies continue to have an influence on how we manage cultural pluralism today. In so doing, I draw a connection between the exclusionary history of the colonial experience and contemporary forms of minority protection. By drawing attention to the mutually-constitutive relationship between law and geography, I argue that a focus on territorial forms of autonomy tends to displace the issue that is at the heart of minority demands for cultural and legal recognition. This is the demand for coeval recognition. This thesis concludes by developing the notion of coeval recognition and introducing crucial modifications that need to be made to liberal law and forms of governance if contemporary societies are to ensure better protection for their minority communities. Coeval recognition must be pursued through an acknowledgement of hybridity, a focus on sustaining conditions for self-reflexive intercultural dialogue, and more robust policies to reduce limitations on the mobility of minority communities.
Supervisor: Malik, Maleiha ; Mccolgan, Aileen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available