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There are no such things as universal human rights - on the predicament of indigenous peoples, for example.
Department of Social Anthropology, University of Lund.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7228-8184
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Human Rights, ISSN 1364-2987, E-ISSN 1744-053X, Vol. 14, no 5, p. 641-657Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a gap between the normative ideas of universal human rights and social practice. This discrepancy in the human rights field is analysed in relation to the contemporary social and political marginalisation of indigenous peoples. The problem is analysed from the theoretical approach known as 'communitarian pragmatism'. Discrimination and oppression of indigenous peoples is still widespread, despite the global democratisation initiatives and the political and legal adoption of human rights principles. Based on several years of fieldwork on indigenous peoples and human rights, this paper argues that there are no such things as 'universal human rights'. The reason why human rights is not an adequate instrument is that the universalism of human rights focuses on a cosmopolitan individual, who is detached from his/her cultural and social context. However, indigenous peoples, like most other persons, live their lives in local social circumstances. The solution to this problem, it is argued, is that human rights have to be locally grounded to be a relevant instrument for social change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 14, no 5, p. 641-657
Keywords [en]
HUMAN rights, INDIGENOUS peoples, SOCIAL justice, COMMUNITARIANISM, DISCRIMINATION, SOCIAL change, HUMANISTIC ethics, HUMAN rights violations, OPPRESSION (Psychology), equality, pragmatism, social practice
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-539DOI: 10.1080/13642980902920727OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ths-539DiVA, id: diva2:1365594
Available from: 2019-10-25 Created: 2019-10-25 Last updated: 2019-10-25Bibliographically approved

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Johansson Dahre, Ulf

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