A Paper About Justice, Dignity, Torture, Headscarves: Can Durkheim's Socioligy Clarify Legal Values?/ Roger Cotterrell

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Task: Could you write a one to two page summary of what Cotterrell says can be learned from a sociological approach in thinking what to do about the famous problem of whether Muslim women should be allowed to dress in all -covering veil.

Restrictions on the wearing of the Islamic head scarf and body covering gown – A legal-moral issue

In his article – Justice, Dignity, Torture, Headscarves: Can Durkheim's Socioligy Clarify Legal Values? Roger Cotterrell attempts to find out what Emile Durkheim would say regarding two issues that stand out in present days - the acceptability of torture in defense of national security; and restrictions on the wearing of the Islamic headscarf. Cotterrell takes Derkheim's approach regarding the sociology of morality in order to examine moral and legal evaluation of contemporary legal studies - Cotterrell examines Durkheim's 'Moral individualism' idea (‘the cult of the individual’ or ‘cult of the human person’) concerning those two issues. I would focus on the second issue and would try to summarize Cotterrell's arguments on what the Durkheimian approach would say regarding the famous problem of whether Muslim women should be allowed to dress in all-covering veil. Firstly, I will explain what "Moral individualism" is and Durkheim's justifications for it. Then, I will display Cotterrell's justifications to why this approach is relevant nowadays. Thirdly, I will examine the dilemma in hand in a sociological way and try and understand what Cotterrell and Durkheim would say on the matter. 'Moral Individualism': According to Cotterrell, the essential idea that stands on the basis of the 'Moral Individualism' principle is "universal respect for the equal human dignity and autonomy of every member of society, whatever differences there may be in the outlook, position, life conditions or roles of society’s members". Durkheim feels strongly about ensuring that societies will integrate, or rather – will be able to integrate, and will be...
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