Document Type


Publication Date



This lecture addresses the relationship between law and culture in three general parts. The first part consists of a brief review of the theories addressing the relationship of law and culture, mainly the mirror theory. But I will suggest that there is more to the relationship of law and culture than one being an inert reflection of the other; hence my proposal for what I call, as a working concept, a cross-constitutive paradigm of law and culture. The second part reviews the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ("CEDAW''), a law that seeks to effect change by mandating equality for women in part by identifying and attempting to change what are perceived as deleterious cultural practices. As such, CEDAW has been both successful and unsuccessful: in some instances, at least on paper, CEDAW has changed culture; in other cases, it has failed to do so. Third, I will look at Cuba as a particular location in which to explore the relationship between legal change and cultural change. Specifically, I will compare two laws in the context of Cubans in exile and Cubans on the island. This analysis allows me to suggest some factors that may provide insight as to whether or not law will be effective in changing culture. It probably need not be underscored here that, by talking about Cuba, a socialist state, I am intentionally toying with the notion of markets which, in globalization terms, are synonymous with capitalism and the so­ called "free markets."