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Anti-Imperialism: Generating Universal Human Rights out of Local Norms

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To counter possibilities for human rights as cultural imperialism, (1) I develop a notion of human rights as culturally particular and valid only locally. But they are an increasingly generalizable particularism. (2) Because the incommensurability of different cultures does not entail an uncritical tolerance of just about anything, but rather allows for an objectivating stance toward other communities or cultures, locally valid human rights have a critical capacity. (3) Locally valid human rights promote a community's self-representation and thus allow for diversity, rejecting the coercive (mis)representation of a community or culture as incapable of representing itself.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Texas at AustinDepartment of Government1 University Station A 1800Austin, Texas 78712USA, Email:

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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