In the West we frequently pay lip service to universal notions of human rights. But do we ever consider how these work in local contexts and across diverse cultural and ethical structures? Do human rights agendas address the problems many people face, or are they more often the imposition of Western values onto largely non-Western communities?
Human Rights in a Global Perspective develops a social critique of rights agendas. It provides an understanding of how rights discussions and institutions can construct certain types of subjects such as victims and perpetrators, and certain types of act, such as common crimes and crimes against humanity. Using examples from the United States, Europe, India and South Africa, the authors restore the social dimension to rights processes and suggest some ethical alternatives to current practice.
Table of Contents
List of contributors List of tables Acknowledgements Introduction: The Social Life of Rights, Richard Ashby Wilson and Jon P. Mitchell 1. Representing the Common Good: The Limits of Legal Language, Kirsten Hastrup 2. Two Approaches to Rights and Religion in Contemporary France, John Bowen 3. This Turbulent Priest: Contesting Religious Rights and the State in Tibetan Shugden Controversy, Martin Mills 4. Legal/Illegal Counterpoints: Subjecthood and Subjectivity in a Pirate State, Yael Navaro-Yashin 5. Anthropologists as Expert Witness: Political Asylum Cases Involving Sri Lankan Tamils, Anthony Good 6. Voices from the Margins: Knowledge and Interpellation in Israeli Human Rights Protests, Richard W. J. Clarke 7. The Uncertain Political Limits of Cultural Claims: Ambiguous Symbols and Multiple Audiences in Contemporary Minority Rights Politics in Southeast Europe, Jane K. Cowan 8. 'Using Rights to Measure Wrongs': A case study of method and moral in the work of South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Fiona C. Ross 9. Reproduction, Health, Rights: Connections and Disconnections, Maya Unnithan-Kumar 10. Rights and the Poor, John Gledhill 11. The Rights of Being Human, Lisette Josephides Index
Richard A. Wilson is Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He has written and edited numerous works on political violence and human rights, including Human Rights, Culture and Context (1997), Culture and Rights (2001) and The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa (2001). Jon P. Mitchell is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex. His books include Ambivalent Europeans (Routledge, 2001).