Chapter

The Elitist 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/9780195679489.003.0035
The Elitist Argument

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This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western in the sense that they were formulated by an elite in the West, and this formulation was accepted by Westernized elites in the rest of the world. While it is true that the members of the commission which drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were Western or West-educated, it does not follow that non-Western perspectives were simply ignored for that reason. Those members who, while not being Westerners, were educated in the West were also fully imbued with the weight and wealth of their own traditions. Another perspective highlighted in this chapter is that rights discourse per se possesses an elitist character in that it started out with a circumscribed group of people and then its frontiers were extended.

Keywords: human rights; Westernized elite; the elite; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; universal ideals; elitism; elitist character

Chapter.  1940 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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