The Protection of Human Dignity in Contemporary Legal Pluralism
Historically, legal pluralism was relied upon by members of a colonized nation or an oppressed minority to claim respect for human dignity from the colonizing nation or from the dominant majority. Today, legal pluralism has become part of the official orthodoxy of national and supra-national law. It is often invoked by leaders of large and powerful public and private organizations, who endorse “soft law” approaches to legal regulation (e.g. codes of conduct). In this context, respect for human dignity risks being marginalized or even denied to individuals as legal subjects within a global society dominated by impersonal corporations and entities. For legal pluralism to reinforce human dignity rather than human alienation, it is necessary to maintain a critical perspective on alternative forms of “soft law” regulation, rather than assuming that they are necessarily or always progressive.