Chapter

The Anthropological Argument

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679489.003.0031
The Anthropological Argument

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This chapter examines the anthropological argument for the claim that human rights are Western. This is illustrated by the reaction of the American Anthropological Association to human rights discourse. Behind this understanding lurks a certain tension. Professionally anthropologists are mostly relativists but culturally they were, by and large, in this case American, the culture whose values are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Statement on Human Rights prepared by the American Anthropological Association reflected this tension. It itself raised the crucial question: How can the proposed Declaration be applicable to all human beings, and not be a statement of rights conceived only in terms of the values prevalent in the countries of Western Europe and America?

Keywords: human rights; American Anthropological Association; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Anthropologists; Western Europe; America

Chapter.  1764 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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