Non-Fiction Books:

Human Rights in Global Perspective

Anthropological Studies of Rights, Claims and Entitlements


Paperback / softback

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Human Rights in Global Perspective
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The liberal modern West often pays lip-service to universal notions of human rights without considering how these work in local contexts and across diverse cultural and ethical structures. Do human rights agendas helpfully address the problems people face, or are they better understood as a regimental imposition of Western values onto largely non-Western communities? The aim of this volume is to understand, from an anthropological perspective, the consequences of the rise of rights discussions and institutions in both local and global politics. Its chapters develop what could be termed a social critique of rights agendas and the legal process, examining how these construct certain types of subjects, such as victims and perpetrators, and certain types of act, such as common crimes versus crimes against humanity. This framing of the social world often neglects the complex range of perspectives involved in rights processes, and omits the inherent ambiguity of social life. Bringing together perspectives from Europe, North America, India and South Africa, this volume restores the social dimension to rights processes, and suggests ethical alternatives to early 21st century practice.

Author Biography

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).
Release date NZ
May 15th, 2003
Edited by Jon P. Mitchell
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
3 Tables, black and white
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