Relations of Force and Relations of Justice: The Emergence of Normative Community between Colonists and Aboriginal Peoples




Webber, Jeremy

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Osgoode Hall Law Journal


This paper argues that Aboriginal rights are best understood as the product of cross-cultural interaction-not, as is usually supposed, the result of some antecedent body of law (English, international, or Aboriginal). Aboriginal rights are therefore intercommunal in origin. The paper does describe the process by which this body of law emerged, but its primary vocation is theoretical, concerned with the following questions: How can a normative community emerge in the presence of profound cultural divisions? How can relations of justice emerge in a context dominated by power and coercion? How does moral reasoning draw upon the factual relations of the past? Does the process create law, cognizable by judges?




Webber, J. (1995). Relations of force and relations of justice: the emergence of normative community between colonists and Aboriginal peoples. Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 33(4), 623-660.