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Human Rights: An Anthropological Reader / Edition 1

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This innovative reader brings together key works that demonstrate the important and unique contributions anthropologists have made to the understanding and practice of human rights over the last 60 years.

  • Draws on a range of intellectual and methodological approaches to reveal both the ambiguities and potential of the postwar human rights project
  • Brings together essays by both contemporary luminaries and seminal figures to provide a rich introduction to the subject
  • Supplemented with selected international human rights documents and links to websites on human rights
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Provides an important introduction to core epistemological, moral, and methodological questions at stake. ... Recommended reading not just as background literature for students of the field, but for the wider anthropological community seeking to come to terms with rights." (Social Anthropology, January 2010)

"Goodale has an apt sense of what is important and what has yet to be done in the anthropological encounter with human rights ... .The book raises valuable questions not only about human rights but ultimately about cultural relativism, the concept of culture, and the practice and future of anthropology itself." (Academici, April 2009)

"The book draws on a range of intellectual and methodological approaches to explore both the ambiguities and potential of the postwar human rights project." (Law & Social Inquiry, Spring 2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405183345
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Series: Wiley Blackwell Readers in Anthropology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Goodale is Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Anthropology at George Mason University and the Series Editor of Stanford Studies in Human Rights. He is the author of Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights (Stanford UP, 2009) and Dilemmas of Modernity: Bolivian Encounters with Law and Liberalism (Stanford UP, 2008) and coeditor (with Sally Engle Merry) of The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local (Cambridge UP, 2007).

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Table of Contents


Introduction—Human Rights and Anthropology: Mark Goodale (George Mason University).

Part I: Conceptual and Historical Foundations:.

1. Statement on Human Rights (1947) and commentaries: American Anthropological Association, Julian Steward (Late of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), H. G. Barnett (Late of University of Oregon).

2. The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man: Hannah Arendt.

3. The Good, The Bad, and the Intolerable: Minority Group Rights: Will Kymlicka (Queen’s University, Canada).

4. Toward a Cross-Cultural Approach to Defining International Standards of Human Rights: Abdullahi Ahmed An –Na’im (Emory University).

5. Human Rights and Capabilities: Amartya Sen (Harvard University).

Part II: Anthropology and Human Rights Activism:.

6. Declaration on Anthropology and Human Rights (1999): American Anthropological Association.

7. Anthropology, Human Rights, and Social Transformation: Ellen Messer (Brandeis University).

8. Excavations of the Heart: Healing Fragmented Communities: Victoria Sanford (City University of New York, Lehman College).

9. Rethinking Health and Human Rights: Time for a Paradigm Shift: Paul Farmer and Nicole Gastineau (both Harvard University).

10. Rotten Trade: Millennial Capitalism, Human Values, and Global Justice in Organs Trafficking: Nancy Scheper-Hughes (University of California, Berkeley).

11. Do Anthropologists Have an Ethical Obligation to Promote Human Rights?: Terence Turner (Cornell University), Laura Graham (University of Iowa), Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban (Rhode Island College), Jane Cowan (University of Sussex, UK).

Part III: The Ethnography of Human Rights Practices:.

12. Representing Human Rights Violations: Social Contexts and Subjectivities: Richard. A. Wilson (University of Connecticut).

13. Gendered Intersections: Collective and Individual Rights in Indigenous Women’s Experience: Shannon Speed (University of Texas, Austin).

14. Human Rights and Moral Panics: Listening to Popular Grievances: Harri Englund (University of Cambridge, UK).

15. Legal Transplants and Cultural Translation: Making Human Rights in the Vernacular: Sally Engle Merry (New York University).

Part IV: Critical Anthropologies of Human Rights:.

16. Culture and Rights after Culture and Rights: Jane Cowan (University of Sussex, UK).

17. Human Rights as Cultural Practice: An Anthropological Critique: Ann-Belinda Preis (UNESCO, France).

18. Between Universalism and Relativism: A Critique of the UNESCO Concept of Culture: Thomas Hylland Eriksen (University of Oslo, Norway).

19. Toward a Critical Anthropology of Human Rights: Mark Goodale (George Mason University).

Appendix: Websites on Human Rights

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