Introduction. Minority families and the law. Interactions of ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities with law and state institutions

Authors

  • Iris Sportel Institute for Sociology of Law and the Centre for Migration Law of Radboud University Nijmegen

Keywords:

Encounters with the state, migration law, avoiding the law, encuentros con el Estado, ley de migraciones, eludir la ley

Abstract

The state is an important presence in the lives of many minority families. This special issue aims to investigate the interactions of minority families with law and state institutions from a socio-legal perspective, with a particular focus on issues relating to children. This introduction focuses on two observations. First of all, minority families tend to get into contact with law and state institutions relatively often. For migrant and transnational families, migration law can have a large and enduring impact on many aspects of their lives. Furthermore, marginalisation of minorities and differences in decision-making by state actors can contribute to an overrepresentation of minority families in state interventions such as the child protection or criminal justice systems. Secondly some minority families tend to avoid state law and institutions. Especially in family matters such as marriage or divorce, minority family members may look for alternative options outside of the state, concluding religious marriages or divorces.

El Estado es una presencia importante en las vidas de muchas familias de minorías. Este número especial pretende investigar las interacciones de las familias de minorías con las leyes y las instituciones estatales desde una perspectiva socio-jurídica, con especial atención a los temas relacionados con niños. Esta introducción se centra en dos observaciones. En primer lugar, las familias de minorías tienden a entrar en contacto con las leyes y las instituciones estatales con relativa frecuencia. Para familias migrantes y transnacionales, la marginalización de las minorías y las diferencias en la toma de decisiones de agentes estatales puede contribuir a una sobrerrepresentación de las familias de minorías en intervenciones estatales como la prostitución infantil o los sistemas de justicia penal. En segundo lugar, algunas familias de minorías tienden a eludir las leyes y las instituciones estatales. Especialmente en asuntos familiares como el matrimonio y el divorcio, los miembros de familias de minorías pueden buscar opciones alternativas fuera del Estado, como matrimonios y divorcios religiosos.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1210

Author Biography

Iris Sportel, Institute for Sociology of Law and the Centre for Migration Law of Radboud University Nijmegen

* Iris Sportel is an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Sociology of Law and the Centre for Migration Law of Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She holds a PhD (2014) in sociology of law and gender studies from Radboud University. As a legal anthropologist, her research focusses on how individual actors -- ordinary people, legal professionals, and parties in court procedures -- deal with and experience law and legal institutions, especially in contexts of migration and transnationalism. She wrote Transnational Families and Divorce, Marriage, Migration, and Family Law (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).  Email address: iris.sportel@ru.nl

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Published

01-08-2021

How to Cite

Sportel, I. (2021) “Introduction. Minority families and the law. Interactions of ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities with law and state institutions”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11(4), pp. 948–958. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1400 (Accessed: 28 September 2021).