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summary

In 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and with it a profusion of norms, processes, and institutions to define, promote, and protect human rights. Today virtually every cause seeks to cloak itself in the righteous language of rights. But even so, this universal reliance on the rights idiom has not succeeded in creating common ground and deep agreement as to the scope, content, and philosophical bases for human rights.

Makau Mutua argues that the human rights enterprise inappropriately presents itself as a guarantor of eternal truths without which human civilization is impossible. Mutua contends that in fact the human rights corpus, though well meaning, is a Eurocentric construct for the reconstitution of non-Western societies and peoples with a set of culturally biased norms and practices.

Mutua maintains that if the human rights movement is to succeed, it must move away from Eurocentrism as a civilizing crusade and attack on non-European peoples. Only a genuine multicultural approach to human rights can make it truly universal. Indigenous, non-European traditions of Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas must be deployed to deconstruct—and to reconstruct—a universal bundle of rights that all human societies can claim as theirs.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. p. 1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. 8-9
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-9
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  1. 1 Human Rights as a Metaphor
  2. pp. 10-38
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  1. 2 Human Rights as an Ideology
  2. pp. 39-70
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  1. 3 Human Rights and the African Fingerprint
  2. pp. 71-93
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  1. 4 Human Rights, Religion, and Proselytism
  2. pp. 94-111
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  1. 5 The African State, Human Rights, and Religion
  2. pp. 112-125
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  1. 6 The Limits of Rights Discourse
  2. pp. 126-153
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 154-157
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 159-235
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 237-249
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 251-252
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780812204155
Related ISBN
9780812220490
MARC Record
OCLC
859160657
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-07
Language
English
Open Access
No
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