In the (Canadian) Shadow of Islamic Law: Translating Mahr as a Bargaining Endowment
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AbstractThis article addresses the dilemmas of Muslim women living in Canada as they negotiate between the constitutional and juridical systems of the dominant society, on the one hand, and the Muslim community, on the other. It will examine the ideological assumptions about law and multiculturalism that have worked to depoliticize the stakes of law in Marion Boyd's report, Protecting Choice, Promoting Inclusion. With the Islamic institution of mahr in the background, this article suggests a methodology to evaluate the costs and benefits of abstract legal rules as they are actually used by the parties in the "shadow of the law" to acquire something from the other party, make concessions, or simply put an end to the relationship. In offering a distributional narrative of legal pluralism, this article demonstrates that while legal orders produce group subjectivities in plural spaces, they also, and more importantly, distribute desires, interests, and bargaining endowments between individuals and groups in an unpredictable and often contradictory fashion.