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Günter Frankenberg

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Günter Frankenberg

Comparative law is introduced as a discipline in the light of the self-interpretations of comparatists. The Cinderella complex and fantasies of comparative law as queen of the legal sciences compete as constitutive elements of the discipline’s imaginary.

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Günter Frankenberg

Critical approaches are briefly reviewed. The review concentrates on diverse concepts of, and possible criteria for, critique. From different schools of criticism in the social sciences, notably the Frankfurt school and Michel Foucault, the author takes his cues for a critical approach that focuses on ideology and is guided by the motif not to be governed (by conventional styles of comparative law).

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Günter Frankenberg

To achieve some distance from the official narratives and to identify their characteristic features, notably a shared view of the tools, concept and purpose of comparative law at a given time, this chapter is focused on the major schools and styles of legal comparison and concentrates on their rhetoric, methods and theories as variations of innocence.

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Günter Frankenberg

The ethical and political dimensions of the mainstream ‘tracks’ of comparative work complement the dimension of method/theory. They are represented by means of a ‘grid’ that allows them to capture and discuss the dilemma of interpretation (similarity/difference) and the problem of positionality – whether the comparatist recognizes that she is always already anchored in her ‘own’ legal culture and how she relates the familiar to the foreign (detachment/commitment).

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Günter Frankenberg

Turning from academic discourse to the practical, this chapter focuses the attention on how comparatists (judges and legal scholars) address the problem of normative pluralism and how they negotiate differences as they evaluate the Muslim dress code. The analysis brings to the fore visual – rather than cognitive – phenomena, as the grid is applied to the legal-judicial discourse on Muslim veiling.

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Günter Frankenberg

The last part of the book concentrates on a comparison of human rights narratives. It discusses, first, human rights law in general and its varieties of narratives of justification – human rights as myth, ideology and normalization.

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Günter Frankenberg

‘Before the Law’ presents an interpretation Kafka’s parable of the same title and Derrida’s comment. In this chapter, the story is connected to and read as a critique of both the discourse on the human right of access to justice and the elements of normalization.

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Günter Frankenberg

In the closing remarks, narrativity is re-considered as one of the crucial elements of ‘thick comparison.’ The author moves to the intersection of detachment/commitment and similarity/difference in order to look for the answer to the question of how the quite-different can be brought near enough and at the same time kept far away.

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Günter Frankenberg

This book presents a critique of conventional ways to do comparative law. The author argues that, for comparative law to qualify as a discipline, comparatists must reflect on how and why they compare. The author discusses not only methods and theories, but also the ethical implications and the politics of comparative law.