Northeastern University Law Review 11 (2):523-588 (2019)

Jonathan Gingerich
King's College London
This article develops a liberal theory of cultural rights that must be guaranteed by just legal and political institutions. People form their own individual conceptions of the good in the cultural space constructed by the political societies they inhabit. This article argues that only rarely do individuals develop views of what is valuable that diverge more than slightly from the conceptions of the good widely circulating in their societies. In order for everyone to have an equal opportunity to autonomously form their own independent conception of the good, rather than merely following others, culture must be democratically controlled. Equal respect for members of a liberal democracy requires that all citizens have roughly equal opportunities to do things like make movies, publish novels, and exhibit paintings. This article contends that the contemporary American legal order fails to guarantee that all cititizens have roughly equal opportunities to shape and influence their shared culture. Guaranteeing the liberty to do so would require reforms to many areas of law, including applying anti-discrimination law more broadly to the conduct of cultural organizations, expanding fair use protections in copyright law, limiting the ability of businesses to arbitrarily refuse service to customers, and restricting private control of capital in order to democratize the means of cultural production.
Keywords Rawls  culture  fair value  political liberties
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