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The Culturalization of Human Rights Law$
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Federico Lenzerini

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664283

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664283.001.0001

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Rethinking the Debate on Universalism and Cultural Relativism in the Light of the Culturalization of Human Rights Law

Rethinking the Debate on Universalism and Cultural Relativism in the Light of the Culturalization of Human Rights Law

Chapter:
(p.213) 4 Rethinking the Debate on Universalism and Cultural Relativism in the Light of the Culturalization of Human Rights Law
Source:
The Culturalization of Human Rights Law
Author(s):

Federico Lenzerini

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664283.003.0004

Chapter 4 has the purpose of revisiting the debate on universalism vs. cultural relativism in light of the ongoing practice of culturalization of human rights law. Although the construction of ‘moderate cultural relativism’ might appear appropriate to find a satisfactory solution to such a debate, it is the very idea of ‘cultural relativism’ which is unpopular among many scholars and even among the most active protagonists of the process of culturalization of human rights, for the reason that, in its extreme connotation, it may produce serious adverse effects, including abuses of the relativist stance as a pretext to circumvent human rights obligations and, ultimately, denial of any legitimization for international human rights law. Therefore, the analysis developed in this chapter turns to investigating the extent to which human rights may be considered universal according to the different meanings of ‘universalism’ consistent with the methodological approach adopted in Chapter 1.

Keywords:   globalized social contract, human rights awareness, human rights effectiveness, conflicts of rights, tolerance, mutual understanding, peace, moderate cultural relativism, universalism

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