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Title: An analysis of the protection of cultural rights in the context of the United Nations Human Rights treaty-bodies : could it benefit from an anthropological approach?
Author: Chow, Pok Yin Stephenson
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 2675
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Challenging questions arise in the effort to adequately protect the cultural rights of individuals and communities worldwide, not the least of which are questions concerning the very understanding of ‘culture’. As contemporary anthropologists began to understand ‘culture’ as the fluid and ubiquitous narratives that are shifting and sometimes contested, does it still make sense to speak of culture in the context of human rights? If so, what kind of State obligations does this understanding entail? This thesis explores the issue whether the United Nations human rights treaty-bodies jurisprudence is sufficient in protecting the cultural rights of groups and individuals. To achieve this, the present thesis analyses the works of the treaty-bodies on the scope of cultural rights protection and how the treaty-bodies impose limitations on cultural rights. Borrowing from contemporary anthropological knowledge on culture, this thesis demonstrates how the work of the treaty-bodies has failed to acknowledge culture as competing discourses of power and has failed to address potential violations on cultural rights which accompany discourse production as individuals and community struggle over meanings. It also demonstrates how the treaty-bodies, when applying limitations on cultural rights, adopt an highly essentialised notion of culture which sets up culture and gender as fundamentally opposite positions and obscures the question on individual agency in cultural practices. To solve the above difficulties, this thesis argues that, in the context of protecting cultural rights, the treaty-bodies must look beyond the cultural text and must seek to understand the power relations which underpin the production of meaning. In the context of limiting cultural rights, treaty-bodies should begin their assessment by understanding how discourses are produced, reproduced, experienced and resisted, and how these processes impact women emotionally and practically. Concrete steps to accommodate these perspectives are also considered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: K Law (General)