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Searching for a middle ground : anthropologists and the debate on the universalism and the cultural relativism of human rights

Johansson Dahre, Ulf LU (2017) In International Journal of Human Rights
Abstract

In the anthropological debate on human rights a new theoretical approach, a search for a middle ground, has been attempted to solve the dilemma of universalism versus cultural relativism. In the human rights discussion in general, and in the anthropological debate in particular, the dichotomy of universalism/relativism is seen as one major obstacle to the implementation. This article takes a critical outlook at this discussion in anthropology, arguing that there is no such middle ground between universalism and cultural relativism, neither in relation to the definition of the rights, nor the implementation. Instead, this article attempts, through an example from Borneo, to point the way to a human rights theory, called relative... (More)

In the anthropological debate on human rights a new theoretical approach, a search for a middle ground, has been attempted to solve the dilemma of universalism versus cultural relativism. In the human rights discussion in general, and in the anthropological debate in particular, the dichotomy of universalism/relativism is seen as one major obstacle to the implementation. This article takes a critical outlook at this discussion in anthropology, arguing that there is no such middle ground between universalism and cultural relativism, neither in relation to the definition of the rights, nor the implementation. Instead, this article attempts, through an example from Borneo, to point the way to a human rights theory, called relative universalism of human rights. This is a theoretical approach integrating universalism and cultural relativism instead of trying to find some moral space in-between.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
anthropology, Borneo, cultural relativism, Human rights, relative universalism, universalism
in
International Journal of Human Rights
pages
18 pages
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • scopus:85014529485
ISSN
1364-2987
DOI
10.1080/13642987.2017.1290930
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b480d81d-8455-4086-9581-0ca2d294f9ec
date added to LUP
2017-03-14 12:51:10
date last changed
2018-01-07 11:55:13
@article{b480d81d-8455-4086-9581-0ca2d294f9ec,
  abstract     = {<p>In the anthropological debate on human rights a new theoretical approach, a search for a middle ground, has been attempted to solve the dilemma of universalism versus cultural relativism. In the human rights discussion in general, and in the anthropological debate in particular, the dichotomy of universalism/relativism is seen as one major obstacle to the implementation. This article takes a critical outlook at this discussion in anthropology, arguing that there is no such middle ground between universalism and cultural relativism, neither in relation to the definition of the rights, nor the implementation. Instead, this article attempts, through an example from Borneo, to point the way to a human rights theory, called relative universalism of human rights. This is a theoretical approach integrating universalism and cultural relativism instead of trying to find some moral space in-between.</p>},
  author       = {Johansson Dahre, Ulf},
  issn         = {1364-2987},
  keyword      = {anthropology,Borneo,cultural relativism,Human rights,relative universalism,universalism},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  pages        = {18},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {International Journal of Human Rights},
  title        = {Searching for a middle ground : anthropologists and the debate on the universalism and the cultural relativism of human rights},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2017.1290930},
  year         = {2017},
}