Synopses & Reviews
"Negotiating Culture and Human Rights" provides a new interdisciplinary approach to issues of cultural values and universal human rights. Central to the discussion is the "Asian values debate, " so named because of the culturally relativist ideals embraced by some key Asian governments. By analyzing how cultural difference and human rights operate in theory and practice in such areas as legal equality, women's rights, and ethnicity, the contributors forge a new way of looking at these critical issues. They call their approach "chastened universalism, " arguing that respect for others' values need not lead to sterile, relativist views. Ultimately the authors conclude that it is less important to discover pre-existing common values across cultures than to create them through dialogue and debate
By tracing the relativist and universalist arguments of human rights through such issues as criminal justice, women's rights, and ethnicity, the contributors forge a new way of looking at this dichotomy. This new view is articulated as a sort of "chastened universalism," not as concerned with searching for pre-existing common values among different cultures, but for ways to create them.