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Are Human Rights Western?A Contribution to the Dialogue of Civilizations$
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Arvin Sharma

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195679489

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195679489.001.0001

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The International Argument

The International Argument

(p.239) 34 The International Argument
Are Human Rights Western?

Arvind Sharma

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the argument that human rights are Western in terms of International Relations (IR) theory. IR theory provides three basic models for analysing international relations: realism, pluralism, and globalism. The operation of human rights discourse could be considered Western in the sense that in the terms of the realist model, political and civil rights are emphasized at the expense of social, cultural, and economic rights; in terms of the pluralist model, the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) which promote these rights is accorded importance; and in terms of the global model, attempt is made to maximize the scope for the operation of Western capitalism.

Keywords:   human rights, International Relations theory, realism, pluralism, globalism, political rights, civil rights, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), capitalism

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