Abstract

The article revisits the relationship between culture and human rights through the analysis of one traditionally condemned cultural practice known in human rights law as female genital mutilation. The analysis draws on anthropological and medical literature and demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinary analysis to any inquiry within the area of relationship between culture and human rights. An analogy between the traditional practice of female genital mutilations and the less widely publicized female genital aesthetic surgeries practiced in many Western countries serves as a methodological tool. Laws and attitudes towards both practices are compared, demonstrating many similarities and thus the difficulty of drawing a clear-cut line between a cultural and an a-cultural practice. In this light, human rights’ insistence on condemnation of the practices of the Other exclusively appears as hegemonizing, racializing, and, ultimately, discriminatory in its effects. Some suggestions as to what a more adequate human rights approach could look like are made as well, as the constant necessity for interdisciplinary inquiry in human rights law is emphasized.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1085-794X
Print ISSN
0275-0392
Pages
pp. 107-136
Launched on MUSE
2015-02-09
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.