Human rights and the excess of identity : a legal and theoretical inquiry into the notion of identity in Strasbourg case law
Title: Human rights and the excess of identity : a legal and theoretical inquiry into the notion of identity in Strasbourg case law
Author: AL TAMIMI, Yussef
Citation: Social and legal studies, 2018, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 283-298
ISSN: 0964-6639; 1461-7390
Identity is a central theme in contemporary politics, but legal academia lacks a rigorous analysis of this concept. The aim of this article is twofold: (i) firstly, it aims to reveal presumptions on identity in human rights law by mapping how the European Court of Human Rights approaches identity and (ii) secondly, it seeks to analyse these presumptions using theoretical insights on identity. By merging legal and theoretical analysis, this article contributes a reading of the Court’s case law which suggests that the tension between the political and apolitical is visible as a common thread in the Court’s use of identity. In case law concerning paternity, the Court appears to hold a specific view of what is presented as an unquestionable part of identity. This ostensibly pre-political notion of identity becomes untenable in cases where the nature of an identity feature, such as the headscarf, is contended or a minority has adopted a national identity that conflicts with the majoritarian national identity. The Court’s approach to identity in such cases reflects a paradox that is inherent to identity; identity is personal while simultaneously constituted and shaped by overarching power mechanisms.
First Published July 31, 2017; Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Type of Access: openAccess
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