The pursuit of the rule of law within a pluri-legal environment: Female circumcision—a case study
20 November 2014
Number of pages
Faculty of Law (FdR)
In nations where state law is in conflict with traditional or customary law, significant issues can arise regarding the implementation
of and adherence to national laws. A thorough understanding of this phenomenon within the context of legal pluralism is likely
to reduce some of this conflict and provide new solutions for lawmakers as they attempt to work within a framework in which
laws and customs are valued by varying degrees within the population. To explore this issue, the practice of female circumcision
is examined in this research effort as a test case. The practice is prohibited by the laws of Tanzania, yet it is practiced
frequently amongst many ethnic groups, including the waGogo. This research inquiry uses semi-structured interviews with thirty
respondents to gain a better understanding of the justifications for the practice and to extrapolate general findings about
the possible coexistence of rule of state law and the enduring quality of customary values. The literature is reviewed regarding
legal pluralism, culture, the practice of female circumcision, and the waGogo. The results of the interviews are qualitatively
analyzed and connected to the existing literature. Suggestions to address adherence to the state laws prohibiting female circumcision
are made, leading into general suggestions regarding the pluri-legal context of rule of law and customary law. Recommendations
are made for researchers, lawmakers, and policymakers to address these sorts of pluri-legal issues, including utilizing local
authorities, understanding the value of community and customary rites, addressing structural issues, increasing access to
resources and education, and considering local sensibilities and participation throughout all stages of the lawmaking, policymaking.
and law enforcement processes as well as other interventions.
De kandidaat was een buitenpromovendus
Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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