A Force Profonde
The Power, Politics, and Promise of Human Rights
Publication Year: 2011
Presenting detailed portraits by leading authorities of the politics of human rights across the major regions of the globe, A Force Profonde: The Power, Politics, and Promise of Human Rights reveals human rights to be a force as powerful as capitalist markets and technological innovation in shaping global governance. Human rights issues mobilize populations regardless of their national, ethnic, cultural, or religious differences. Yet progress in advancing human rights globally, as Edward A. Kolodziej and the other contributors to the volume contend, depends decisively on the local support and the efforts of the diverse and divided peoples of the world—a prerequisite that remains problematic in many parts of the globe.
A Force Profonde explores conceptions of human rights from Western as well as other major world traditions in an attempt to dispel the notion that tyranny, culture, and religion are the only challenges to human rights. Focusing on regional patterns of conflict, the authors point out that violations often have to do with disputes over class, social status, economic privilege, and personal power. In addition, they contend that conflicts over identity are more prevalent in the West than commonly thought. Sharply conflicting views are to be found between the European Union and the United States over issues like the death penalty. Splits within the West between rival Christian sects and between religious adherents and partisans of secularization are no less profound than those in other regions.
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
1 A Force Profonde: The Power, Politics, and Promise of Human Rights
Chou En-lai was allegedly asked what he thought were the results of the French Revolution. He supposedly replied: "It's too early to tell." Adam Hochschild's prize-winning study of King Leopold's plundering of the Belgian Congo's rubber and ivory at the cost of countless native lives makes the same point. In tracing the careers of the long-forgotten reformers who ...
Part I: Contending Legitimacies
2 Western Perspectives
To talk intelligently about something as vast and varied as "the West" is vir tually impossible, even on the relatively narrow topic of the place of human rights in dominant conceptions of political legitimacy. Politically, the West has been classically embodied in Sparta, Athens, and Rome, both the Republic and the Empire; the France of Louis IX, Francis I, Louis XIV, ...
3 Muslim Perspectives
There is no single Muslim perspective on the topic of human rights. Al though virtually all Muslims believe that Islam guarantees human rights, there is a great deal of disagreement on specifics. Many Muslims believe that there is no incompatibility between Western notions of human rights and Islam; some even argue for an Islamic derivation of Western human ...
Part II: Regional Perspectives
4 The Northern Tier
There is much to distinguish among the three countries of the northern tier of the Middle East. The governments of Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan draw on different sources for their legitimacy. Despite predominantly Mus lim populations, the three societies are varied in the ideologies that guide their leaders and inspire their publics. They have distinctive problems in ...
5 North Africa
All the North Mrican states-Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya-have been confronted since independence with a lack of popular legitimacy. In the 1980s, domestic political debates about human rights slowly became an integral part of a seemingly never-ending process of state legitimation. The agenda of human rights has thence evolved as a constitutive element of ...
6 The Middle East: Israel
This chapter is based on two main theoretical constructs. The first is the argument that the long-term stability of a political regime depends, to a large extent, on its ability to generate social legitimacy. The widespread acceptance of the regime's fundamental values is a key for the ability of the polity to maintain its governance patterns; the increasing rejection of those ...
7 Northeast Asia: China
How China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, acts on human rights is a matter of global import. A nuclear power with ambitions for regional predominance, China is home to some one-fifth of the human race. Since 1978 China has also enjoyed the world's fastest eco nomic growth, receiving far and away the most Foreign Direct Investment ...
8 South Asia
The problems of democracy, legitimacy, and human rights in South Asia are inextricably intertwined with questions of nationalism, national integration, economic development, globalization, and political, cultural, and social change. South Asia is a highly diverse, relatively self-contained geographic region that accounts for one quarter of the world's population. South Asia ...
9 Southeast Asia
Human rights have become important to Southeast Asian citizens and their leaders because the Western world, in particular the United States, has argued that modern nations must adhere to certain principles. Western leaders believe that, because the world is increasingly interdependent polit ically and economically, universal values of human rights must be followed ...
10 The European Union
The founding treaty of the European Economic Community, signed by the original six member states in Rome in 1957, did not mention human rights. Forty years later, a new treaty agreed to by the current fifteen mem ber states in Amsterdam, included specific clauses on the subject as con ditions of membership for the European Union. And in Cologne in June ...
11 Eastern Europe: The Russian Federation
Human rights politics play out within a complex web of domestic and trans national relationships. As Thomas Risse-Kappen (1994) says, "ideas do not float freely"; they are encapsulated in normative regimes that are incor porated into institutional structures and championed by concrete actors embedded in political networks. An examination of these actors and insti ...
12 Latin America
Latin America has always fit awkwardly into the prevailing paradigms that scholars and policy officials have used to categorize the area (Martz 1966; P. Smith 1995). Try answering these questions unambiguously: Is Latin America Western or, with its large indigenous communities, non-Western? Is it developed or developing, traditional or modern, and as compared to ...
13 Southern Africa
The sweep of democracy's "third wave" through southern Mrica in the 1990s is testimony to the increasing demands for and claims to human rights made by citizens and groups across this region.1 To be sure, we cannot account for this trend without acknowledging the role of global forces such as the end of the Cold War and the increasing emphases on open markets and ...
14 West Africa: Nigeria
The thesis of this chapter is that Mrica has undergone-and presumably continues to do so-waves of democratization for its own reasons, perhaps related but not dependent on the putative waves on a global scale (Hunt ington 1997). In that process, a key state such as Nigeria has an influential role. But that role is part of the wave effect, not its motor. The causes lie ...
Part III: Retrospect and Prospects
15 Whither Human Rights?
Some brief stocktaking is useful at this point to sum up where we are. Based largely (but not exclusively) on the findings of this volume, I first hazard some observations about where the power, politics, and promise of human rights are today. This will not be easy. The scope of the discussion and the richness, depth, and complexity of the preceding chapters caution against ...
List of Contributors
This volume owes much to many people. Substantial financial support was received from the Ford Foundation, through a grant for interdisciplinary global studies, and from three units at the University of Illinois: Interna tional Programs and Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Political Science. The editor and authors express their ...
Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights