Human Rights

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  1. Cultural relativism def
    • the view that all beliefs, customs, and ethics are relative to the individual within his own social context
    • argued there is no objective criteria for judging one culture above another 
    • all cultures are equal since no universal standard exists
  2. UDHR
    • 1948
    • argue that culture can be obstacle for HR
    • UDHR to promote workd peace but also universal rights independent of race, sex, language, religion
    • intl treaty allowing intervention in cases of HR abuse
  3. AAA statement on HR:
    • promotes respect of cultural different
    • BUT argues as individuals only exist as members of social groups individual freedom cannot be recognised
    • "man is only free when he lives as his society defines freedom"
  4. AAA critque on UDHR:
    • reflects Euro-American values and not humanity as a whole
    • Western values despire advocating there is no place for judgement within culture - ironic!
    • a form of imperialsim
    • HR cannot be dictated on the rights of a single culture
    • needs tolerance of difference along w/ values of freedom and choice
  5. response to AAA statement
    • Karen Engles: "shameful as it asserted tolerance without limits"
    • describes relativism as incompatible with making moral judgements about societies
  6. response to AAA statement - Scheper-Hughes
    • criticises "moral relativism" of anthro
    • tolerance for gross injustices under the name of culture
    • calls for a "militant anthropology": obligation to assist in the struggles of people we study
  7. "Demonisation of Culture"
    • Merry
    • argues critiques of relativism are based on outdated anthro ideas about "culture"
  8. misunderstanding culture
    • importance of cultural difference is misunderstood when culture is thought of as bounded static
    • meaning that by being relative we must defend every practise and belief
    • leads people to see culture as unchanging with unquestioned authority eg religion
  9. BUT culture
    • fluid, contested, hybradised, dynamic
    • fluid boundaries and consists of habits and practices
    • not just values and beliefs - diverse views
    • not uniform
    • ALWAYS connected to power relations
  10. "culturalisation" of problems
    • Merry
    • single instances of abuse are attributed to another's "culture!
    • assumptions supported by stereotypes
    • eg gang rape in Afganistan - women seen as victims of "traditional values" and oppression blamed on local culture
    • BUT ignores wider political and economic factors
  11. Dembour
    • "Following the Movement of a Pendulum"
    • argues that universalism and relativism cannot be considered independently of each other
    • need to accomodate each other to be sustainable
  12. universalism as arrogance:
    • when one is convinced of the righteousness of HR excludes the experience of "the other"
    • what one perceives as natural is not to another
    • what is natural is often nothing more than what is mainstream
  13. relativism as indifference
    • tends to assume people are more determined by their culture than they actually are
    • fails to take into account historical change
    • boundries are not fixed
  14. Dembour - FGM
    • justifications for GFM fail to stand up to Western rationality
    • seen as maintaining subordination of women
    • but important part of identity/personhood
    • makes "women a woman"
  15. France - overview
    • conservative policies than emphasise integration (assimilation) rather than recognition towards difference
    • FGM illegal
  16. French prosecution argument
    • force of custom must give way before law
    • France has a duty to protect its children
  17. defence argument
    • BUT FGM also recognised as a custom that should be valued 
    • the act is criminal but the intention is not
    • act of love
    • imprisonment would punish the victim further
  18. French FGM result
    result: jurors pass suspended sentences to FGM practitioners

    • reflecting the adoption of midway psoition between universalism and relativism 
    • reveals the enforcement of law but also recognition of cultural difference
  19. HR conclusion
    • Hr shouldn't be seen as opposed to cultural difference but rather should incorporate it
    • HR is just one vision of how to achieve human dignity or envisage human order
    • "intermediary" space should be created where universalism and relativism can be combined in HR discourse
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Human Rights
2015-05-08 22:07:51
Human Rights nicole

Human Rights
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