Human Rights and Asian Values: Contesting National Identities and Cultural Representations in Asia

Human Rights and Asian Values: Contesting National Identities and Cultural Representations in Asia

Human Rights and Asian Values: Contesting National Identities and Cultural Representations in Asia

Human Rights and Asian Values: Contesting National Identities and Cultural Representations in Asia

Synopsis

The Asian challenge to the universality of human rights has sparked off intense debate. This volume takes a clear stand for universal rights, both theoretically and empirically, by analysing social and political processes in a number of East and Southeast Asian countries. On the national arenas, Asian values are linked to the struggle between authoritarian and democratic forces, which both tend to convey stereotyped images of the 'west', but with reversed meanings.

Excerpt

The chapters of this volume all derive from papers presented at a workshop held in Copenhagen in May 1997 under the title 'Human Rights and Asian Values' and jointly organized by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, the Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, and the Danish Centre for Human Rights. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided generous support for the workshop, which gathered over 70 scholars and students from four continents.

The editors also acknowledge the cooperation of all contributors to the volume and appreciate their patience during the editorial process, which for various reasons extended far beyond expectation. Yet we believe that the theme of the book is no less relevant today than it was at the time of the workshop.

Thanks are also due to the staff of the NIAS publication unit, Gerald Jackson, Leena Hoskuldsson and Andrea Straub, whose professional work speaks for itself, as well as to the anonymous referees who provided helpful criticism and suggestions.

Finally, we recognize the support and understanding of our loved ones — Michael Jacobsen's wife Jytte and Ole Bruun's wife Karen and his children Philip and Esther, to whom we dedicate this book.

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