Proposed Submission Title

Anthropology, Law, and Human Rights: A look at how anthropologists approach and navigate legal regimes in different regions of the world

Keywords

anthropology, law, human rights, legal regime, democracy

Disciplines

Anthropology | Human Rights Law | International Law | Social and Cultural Anthropology

Abstract

Prior to World War II, anthropologists condemned the idea of universal human rights and instead favored the concept of cultural relativism. Universal human rights and cultural relativism were seen as mutually exclusive. However, since the United Nations' formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, anthropologists have been a driving force in protecting international human rights (Messer 1993). Today it is widely acceptable for anthropologists to be culturally relative while also remaining activists for human rights. One challenge some anthropologists may face when doing human rights work abroad is navigating their relationship with the local legal regime. I will be looking at various regions’ legal regimes in which anthropologists work, in hopes to uncover patterns regarding possible similarities with the problems they face. To do this I will be using the work of Messer (1993) as a basis, and will additionally be conducting literature reviews using Google Scholar and the Annual Review of Anthropology.

Citation:

Messer, Ellen. "Anthropology and human rights." Annual Review of Anthropology 22, no. 1 (1993): 221-249.

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Anthropology, Law, and Human Rights: A look at how anthropologists approach and navigate legal regimes in different regions of the world

Prior to World War II, anthropologists condemned the idea of universal human rights and instead favored the concept of cultural relativism. Universal human rights and cultural relativism were seen as mutually exclusive. However, since the United Nations' formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, anthropologists have been a driving force in protecting international human rights (Messer 1993). Today it is widely acceptable for anthropologists to be culturally relative while also remaining activists for human rights. One challenge some anthropologists may face when doing human rights work abroad is navigating their relationship with the local legal regime. I will be looking at various regions’ legal regimes in which anthropologists work, in hopes to uncover patterns regarding possible similarities with the problems they face. To do this I will be using the work of Messer (1993) as a basis, and will additionally be conducting literature reviews using Google Scholar and the Annual Review of Anthropology.

Citation:

Messer, Ellen. "Anthropology and human rights." Annual Review of Anthropology 22, no. 1 (1993): 221-249.