Giappichelli Publishing House has recently published a new collection of essays entitled ‘The jurist’s journey along the traces of fraternity’, with contributions by authors from different geographical backgrounds, all converging on a common search. The book is available in Italian and Portuguese. It proposes an unprecedented approach, one that is based on fraternity, to the challenges that our time of globalisation and conflict poses to the law, a time when the proliferation of national and supranational norms is in itself a sign of the inadequacy of the present system to govern the complexity, and when pluralism apparently leaves no room for conciliation.

The authors’ objective is not only to introduce the category of fraternity as a ‘forgotten principle’, but above all to highlight its importance in the context of the present day, addressing this message to those who seek to reflect on the aim and the power of the law not merely as a normative technique, but in its universal dimension, in its ability to generate unity out of the plurality. The jurist’s journey proposes pathways through which to translate the law into an avenue for dialogue among different juridical systems. The book proposes a study on the category of fraternity, a theme that is very much in line with the vocation of Sophia. The Institute’s contribution to the volume is contained in the reflection that bears the signature of Sergio Barbaro, who teaches Comparative Law at the University in Loppiano.

“This book – writes constitutionalist Fausto Goria in the introduction – is for those who, on the subject of the law, are interested in the questions that go beyond the formal correctness of its production, interpretation and application, or even the types of interests that norms protect. In fact, this volume attempts to identify the values that can give the law meaning and direction, an aim to reach. In the light of those values, we may assess not just the correctness of a norm, but also the quality of its functioning in its concrete applications to the context of human relations. […] The paths that the jurist can pursue to give concrete application to the value of fraternity and to other similar values are many, but they are also demanding: they call, first and foremost, for people leading by example and embodying those values, and for a social consensus on the latter, which, of course, can grow insofar as a culture that is inspired by them takes root”.

The book inaugurates some lines of research that are open to new contributions, and has the ambition, corroborated by scientific data, to move beyond borders between states and continents, not merely because of globalisation, but rather in search of a paradigm that is capable of building bridges and defining them. In this sense, fraternity – a concept that was defined as ‘positive’ at the end of the 19th century, as opposed to the ‘negative’ value attributed to concepts such as freedom and equality – can acquire a new meaning in an international perspective, moving from a very important text, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is what Prof. Sergio Barbaro writes on the subject:

“Fraternity intended not as charity, kind-heartedness or merely solidarity, but as an act of responsibility towards others. Towards an ‘other’ who, though a stranger, is recognised as another self. This leaves no room for indifference, rather, it makes space for mutual encounter and commitment. In a global context that promotes an individualist, competitive and self-referential vision of the human being, the law, too, is called upon to pay more attention to values like altruism, compassion, gratuitousness, responsibility and care of the other. The law cannot remain indifferent to these new situations. In our opinion, Cain’s question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” can only be answered in the affirmative: “Yes, I am my brother’s keeper”.

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