Cosmopolitan citizenship and pathologies of pluralism

1 Faculty of Law, McGill University. I would like to thank the FCAR, SSHRC and Law Commission of Canada for making this research possible. Elena Reshetnikova wrote a background essay that provided a foil for this paper. Shy Kurtz assisted with research and commentary. I am grateful to Andrée Lajoie, Richard Lehun, Rod Macdonald, Pierre Noreau and Guy Rocher for their comments and suggestions.




There are two interconnected questions obscured in the contemporary discourse of legal pluralism. The first concerns the legitimacy of the various forms of pluralism. The second concerns their pathology. If we accept that law does not issue from a unitary source, the problem becomes to characterize the kinds of pluralism in which we find ourselves and to discern their principles of legitimacy. It cannot be taken for granted that they are all legitimate, that is to say, that they can both articulate and fulfill founding principles of justification. That leads to the second question. To celebrate all legal pluralism simply by drawing attention to it as anobservable, documented fact, without considering whether that pluralism conduces to the just and the good, is like speaking of the pluralism of the body’s mechanisms without asking whether any given complex of cells is malignant or benign.

Citation recommandée

Richard Janda, « Cosmopolitan citizenship and pathologies of pluralism », (2010) 15-1, Lex Electronica En ligne :


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