Under western eyes again? Rights vernacular and the gender culture 'clash'

Pardy, Maree 2013, Under western eyes again? Rights vernacular and the gender culture 'clash', Australian journal of human rights, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 31-53, doi: 10.1080/1323-238X.2013.11882116.

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Title Under western eyes again? Rights vernacular and the gender culture 'clash'
Author(s) Pardy, Maree
Journal name Australian journal of human rights
Volume number 19
Issue number 1
Start page 31
End page 53
Total pages 23
Publisher LexisNexis Butterworths
Place of publication Chatswood, N.S.W.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1323-238X
Summary Gender features prominently in debates about the clash between human rights and culture, where ‘culture’ is often portrayed as a supreme obstacle to the realisation of women’s rights. Sometimes framed as an ethical conundrum between universalism and cultural relativism, the clash between culture and rights recites one as always and inevitably undercutting the other — culture undermines rights, and the imposition of human rights damages culture. An innovative attempt at recasting this clash has been a focus less on abstract philosophical debates and more on the cultural politics of rights — in particular, how they are made relevant to everyday life. Anthropologists Merry (2006; 2008a) and Levitt and Merry (2009; 2011) propose the analytical and ethnographic study of vernacularisation by demonstrating how, in local contexts, women’s human rights are remade in the vernacular. This approach has yielded rich knowledge about the myriad ways in which expectations of female inferiority and masculine entitlement to violence are contested — not through the import of Western ideas of human rights, but through the local idiom. This article considers the productive contribution of vernacularisation to this contested terrain, while also pointing to the limits that issue from its dependence on distinguishing the global from the local. Today, these two spaces are not so clearly discerned — particularly in multicultural settings where the local and the global are fused, and where human rights are translated into a vernacular of current political anxieties to do with racial and cultural difference. This is a vernacular that disguises or disavows racism through the language of human rights. These themes are illustrated and explored through the case study of a small community event in an outer suburb of Melbourne, where gender, culture and religion play out through both local and international rights vernacular.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/1323-238X.2013.11882116
Field of Research 180199 Law not elsewhere classified
160101 Anthropology of Development
169901 Gender Specific Studies
Socio Economic Objective 940113 Gender and Sexualities
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, Australian Human Rights Centre UNSW Law
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30085271

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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