FRANKLIN COLLEGE SWITZERLAND
Intersections of Law and
Culture: Human Rights
September 23-25, 2011
Importing foreign labor force: The case of the recruitment system of the Caralonian Agricultural Union, “Unio de Pagesos,” and
Its consequences on workers fundamental rights
Olga Achón Rodríguez, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
This paper aims to disclose the results of the investigation that backs my doctoral thesis “Contratación en Origen e Institución
Total. Estudio sobre el sistema de alojamientos de trabajadores agrícolas extranjeros en el Segrià (Lleida)”. Its main objective is
to show the consequences of the system designed by the Catalonian agricultural union “Unió de Pagesos” to recruit, import and
distribute foreign labor produces, a subject deprived of its liberties and fundamental rights.
Once the model of family farming was substituted by an industrial agricultural system of production based on hired labor, the
agricultural union, with the consent of the State, reinvented itself as a provider of services related with the acquisition of
manpower through this system –as we designate the set of practices that materialize the recruitment of foreign workers abroad
and their concentration is lodgments controlled by the Union. The State’s migration polity is responsible for the emergence of
such a system, and we can trace its origin in the symbiotic relation between the State and the union, whose interests- the social
control of the foreign worker and the just in time delivery of labor, respectively- are harmonized in it. In the lodgment-
infrastructure of the system a transformation is intended through different devices –lodgment regulations, the presence of
personnel in charge of the facilities, a visit regime and exit permissions, among others- close to other institutions, as labor
camps, where the taming of individuality is achieved through its subordination to a dominating power in order to create a new
Olga Achon Rodriguez is a member of the Group of Research of Exclusion and Social Control (Grup de Recerca sobre
Exclusió i Control Socials) of the University of Barcelona.
Reproductive rights as human rights: A literary perspective
Valentina Adami, University of Verona, Italy
The concept of reproductive rights as fundamental human rights is new and challenging. It was first proposed at the 1994
International Conference of Population and Development in Cairo and reaffirmed at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on
Women in Beijing. The centrality of reproductive rights to meeting international development goals was also recognized by the
UN World Summit of September 2005.
Every human being has basic rights that allow him/her to live with dignity, enjoy full and equal citizenship and lead a healthy
and fulfilling life. For women, living a healthy and dignified life also means being able to control their reproductive lives, that
is, to decide the number, timing and spacing of children, to voluntarily marry and establish a family, and to get the highest
attainable standard of health. Reproductive freedom thus lies at the heart of human rights issues, particularly with reference to
the recognition of women’s dignity, self-determination and equality.
This paper will analyze the concerns with reproductive rights expressed by feminist dystopias such as Margaret Atwood’s The
Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army (2007), in which human rights represent a key issue. In fact,
when a woman is denied her reproductive rights – as women are in these novels – she is denied the means for controlling her
own life and protecting her health, that is, for exercising her human rights. Atwood’s and Hall’s dystopias will provide a
departure point for underlining the importance of recognizing women equal access to reproductive healthcare and freedom to
control their reproductive rights.
Valentina Adami is a post-doc student from the University of Verona in the department of foreign languages and literatures.
Historical Redress in Israel: The Clash of Paradigms
Ruth Amir, Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel, Israel
Historical redress concerns reparations in-kind or in-cash for injustices committed or authorized by governments and private
corporations decades or centuries ago. The wrongs were inflicted upon many individuals and involved invidious discrimination
based on race, religion or ethnicity and violations of fundamental human rights.
There are two general types of responses to historical injustices. Juridical/legalistic responses seek enforcement of some
proprietary or contractual right expropriated or denied without compensation, or, legal action in tort; unjust enrichment, or
quantum meruit. Sociological/theological responses focus on atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation among groups. These
responses are complementary rather than mutually exclusive.
This paper analyzes attempts at redress of historical injustices perpetrated by Israeli governments or their affiliated bodies
towards immigrants. I examine three cases: first, the three inquiry committees formed in order to investigate the whereabouts of
the children of (mostly) Yemeni immigrants who disappeared postpartum or while being cared for by the authorities in the
1950s. The families claimed that the children were abducted and [illegally] adopted by childless families in Israel or abroad.
Second, the legislation of the law intended to recompense Tinea Capitis victims of irradiation treatment. During 1940s and
1950s, immigrant children, mostly from Muslim countries underwent a highly painful and apparently hazardous treatment
protocol associated with extremely high rates of fatal malignancies. Both cases involve marginalized Oriental Jews. Finally, I
examine the attempt to make amends in the case of the decision to exclude blood donated by Ethiopian immigrants during late
1990s. These cases represent the repertoire of attempts at historical redress, namely, inquiry commissions, legislation, civil
claims and finally high court petitions. In all these cases public health was used as a tool of power in order to dominate, control
and discipline "Others".
I argue that historical redress campaigns are subject to two types of tensions emanating from the clash between the juridical-
legalistic and the sociological-theological paradigm and the clash between recognition and redistribution based redress. The
complex of juridical practices is inadequate for achieving closure by the victims, atonement by those responsible and
reconciliation among social groups.
The spreading out of the legal into the historical can bring forth varying degrees of inclusion, but mechanisms of historical
redress are often themselves exclusive. Recognition without redistribution is inadequate for it may perhaps rectify a specific
injustice but will not bring forth full membership and inclusion of the marginalized aggrieved group.
Ruth Amir is Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies at the Max Stern Academic College of
Emek Yezreel. She is a political scientist by education, with diverse multi-disciplinary research interests and proficiency in
varied qualitative and quantitative research methodologies.
(Ab)uses of the “Public Colonial Archives” : Comparisons between Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
David Bargueño, Law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
This article examines how colonial histories of conquest, resistance, and collaboration shape ethnic and national identities in
contemporary Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. As a comparative overview of how political leaders and the public media
treat recent and distant histories, the exploratory research brings to the fore key similarities and differences in the ‘public
colonial archives’ existing in southern Africa today. By developing such an analytical frame, the goal is to synthesize separate
but interrelated historiographies on nationalism and transitional justice, as well as human rights and nativism. Part and parcel of
‘colonial public archives,’ nativism – the preference for a specific group of indigenous inhabitants, practices, or interests –
challenges human rights and transitional justice, at least in its ability to galvanize discrimination against vulnerable ‘others’
(defined by sexual orientation, race, or political preference).
Of course, much ink has already been spilled on these topics, as demonstrated by the abundant literature on settler colonialism,
the past and future of white Africans in southern Africa, xenophobia in South Africa, the discrimination of LGBT communities
in Namibia, and intolerance for political opposition in Zimbabwe. But only a small handful of case-specific, post-colonial works
have drawn attention to the present-day treatment and depiction of the colonial past, and fewer still have analyzed how the
public media and political leaders in this region draw upon certain discourses and historical events as tools of discrimination
and identity formation. Often Namibia and South Africa are heralded as successful paradigms of transitional justice and
constitutionalism, while Zimbabwe stands apart as the current pariah of human rights norms.
Although such a generalization may be supported by their respective post-independence histories, the goal here is to show how
the ‘public colonial archives’ – infused with both nativism and human rights – overlap and are used as a means of exclusion in
each of the three contexts. To demonstrate this point, Section I provides a working definition of ‘public colonial archives’ by
drawing upon an illustrative example, that is, of the rhetoric around a recent legal case for financial reparations from Germany
for the Herero genocide in Namibia. Then Section II contextualizes this example by outlining the common relationship between
‘public colonial archives’ and recent attacks on sexual, ethnic, and political minorities in Namibia, South Africa, and
Zimbabwe. Section III concludes with a more theoretical discussion on the fraught relationships between the ‘public colonial
archives’ and contemporary forms of nation-building, legal pluralism, and justice and reconciliation in southern Africa. By
integrating a number of unpublished interviews, as well as a broad survey on the relevant secondary material, the article
substantively advances existing research on ‘law and culture’ in the developing world.
David Bargueño is a Fox Fellow in the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. His research focuses on
the history of international law, southern Africa, and humanitarianism writ large.
Down and out in Paris and wherever: Changing or deteriorating conditions of housing in the urban sphere?
Milica Anastasija Bogetic, Franklin College
Departure point for literary and real-time purposes: Paris. Considering the unique history of social housing in Paris, particularly
in lieu of recent news bytes regarding the ongoing "housing crisis," I became curious as to the relationship between the
implementing of city policy as such (the birth of programs like social housing, subsidized housing complexes, etc.), its
reflection (or perhaps embodiment) in legal statutes, and ultimately how this alters and contours a more (or less?) "humane"
Milica Bogetic is a current student at Franklin College, finishing in History and Cultural Studies in May 2012.
Amish children's rights: the Wisconsin vs. Yoder case
Andrea Borella, University of Turin, Italy
The Amish church sprang up in Europe in 1693, from a division within the Anabaptist movement, which was born as the
"radical wing" of Protestantism. The Amish were compelled to flee from Europe to America in order to escape the persecutions
of both Catholics and Protestants. The rules of the Amish church do not permit the members to drive a car or a bike, to catch a
plane, to have television or even public electricity in their houses, to study beyond the eighth grade, to marry outside the
community, for women, to cut or shave their hair lifelong, and so on and so forth.
The Amish found in the New World a peaceful land, since the political power in the United States has allowed them to live
according to their religious principles. By contrast, in Europe they disappeared in 1937, because of the political pressure.
In particular, in 1972 the Supreme Court ruled, in a case known as Wisconsin vs. Yoder, that the Amish children could attend
private, rural schools run by the church. This sentence provoked a great debate in America, among those who maintained that it
was a recognition of religious freedom, for children as well, and those who thought that it was a cruelty to force a child to stop
studying at the age of 15.
This paper is based on an anthropological research “on the field”, conducted over the last four years, for several months, in
Pennsylvania, in the Lancaster County’s Old Order Amish community.
Andrea Borella is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropological Sciences (Anthropology of Christianity) at the University of Turin -
Italy (2011). His research areas of interest are the Amish, the Anabaptists and the religion in the United States.
The bifurcation of judicial and cultural discourses on rape in the United States: The curious absence of a dialogue on human
rights in the domestic setting
Holly Jeanine Boux, Georgetown University, U.S.A.
This paper explores the nature of the current discourse on rape in law as it is intertwined with that occurring in society across
the United States, and advances a theory that rape discourse in the United States has become bifurcated: while discussing rape
abroad, legal and political discussions frame the issue as one of human rights, but when discussing rape within the borders of
the United States, the human rights framing largely disappears. The relationship between culture and the law when it comes to
rape trials has been extensively theorized in the sociolegal literature (Smart 1989, Lees 1997, Lacey 1998), and empirical
researchers have gathered evidence supporting the assertion that as “culturally-dominant notions about violence against women
penetrate, and circulate within, the talk of sexual assault adjudication processes” (Ehrlich 2001, 149). Furthermore, in spite of
legislative overhaul to sexual assault statutes, “judicial decisions continue to reflect traditional cultural mythologies about rape”
(Comack 1999, 234; see also Busby 1999, Crocker 2005, Ehrlich 2007, Horney and Spohn 1991, Kibble 2008, Matosian, 1995,
Stewart et al. 1996) and in doing so contravene statutory reforms won by feminists (Smart 1989, Ehrlich 2001).
Contemporaneously, there has been an increasing recognition that the content of these judgments has “significant social
consequences for the accused, the complainant(s), law, and society in general” (Coates 1997, 281). Despite this increasing
recognition that the problematic and mutually reinforcing discourses on rape have profound impacts on women and their rights
to safety, to move about freely in the community, and their security (to be protected from violence) – all of which ultimately
underline women’s claims to citizenship (Hirshman 1994, Leonard and Tronto 2007, Rollins 2009) – in the United States,
discussion of rape as an issue of women’s human rights has been curiously lacking. This omission is especially glaring in light
of the international community’s increasing deployment of the discourse of human rights in discussions concerning rape (Buss
2007, Buss 2009, Conaghan 2005, Finnemore 1996) – a framing which can be found in political, legal, and academic arguments
made by Americans about many rapes that occur abroad. Thus, this article makes the argument that in the American context,
international law and advocacy has bled into the legal and cultural discourse on rape, but in a very limited way. While American
politicians and theorists have come to understand rape when it occurs in conflict areas as a human rights issue, the framing of
rape when it occurs outside of these zones remains largely separate from the human rights discourse, resulting in a
problematically bifurcated discourse on rape. This paper explores this bifurcated discourse on rape as it occurs in the United
States – focusing primarily on the manifestation of these discourses within legal and political environments – and explores the
theoretical and political normative gains that could be made from more fully engaging with the framing of rape as a human
rights issue in the United States’ domestic cultural, legal, and political environment.
Holly Boux is a PhD student in American Government at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
Rancière, the right to a fair trial and an aesthetics of difference
Elaine Campbell, New Castle University, U.K.
This paper breaks new ground by making use of Jacques Rancière’s theoretizations of a ‘politics of aesthetics’ to explore the
dialectical relationship of law and culture(s). Recent academic work in the sociology of law positions such a relationship within
a concept of power, specifically the power of law and culture to render the world meaningful not only in reciprocally
constitutive ways but also in mutually deconstructive ways. While this kind of scholarship moves us some way beyond
accounts which insist on law and culture as autonomous realms of human experience, it nonetheless figures their relationality as
an ongoing contest over the production of meaning. In this paper, I want to transcend this sense of a dichotomous struggle by
attending to the aesthetic dimensions of power. For Rancière, politics arise from ‘ontological conflicts’ over what he describes
as the ‘distribution of the sensible’ – systems of divisions and boundaries which define the nature of things and how things may
be thought, desired, done and experienced within a particular aesthetic regime. From this perspective, how power is exchanged
and exercised within and across the law/culture dyad is of less analytical interest than the aesthetico-political effects of
disagreements and dissensus about what is sayable, doable, visible and audible. Using Rancière to critically the field of human
rights involves, then, a critical exploration of moments of aesthetic disturbance – those events which unsettle our sensibilities
and leave us questioning the meanings of justice. In this paper, the event of the trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sillecito in
Perugia, Italy, 2009, is used as a case study to illustrate how an aesthetics of difference problematises the terms and conditions
of the universal right to a fair trial.
Elaine Campbell is a Reader in Criminology in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University, UK.
She teaches courses in cultural criminology, transgression, visual cultures and visual methodologies, and researches and
publishes (Cultural Sociology; Science as Culture; Crime, Media, Culture, Theoretical Criminology) on the emotionality,
aesthetics and ethics of crime and punishment, with a focus on how these are visually and discursively mobilized.
Violation of human rights in the Holocaust/Post-Holocaust era
Daniela Carpi, University of Verona, Italy
My paper will start by comparing some diachronic declarations of man's rights such as Tom Paine's Rights of Man, the French
Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen (1789) and, much later and after World War II, the Charter of the United
Nations (1945) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) in order to understand how the concept of “human
rights” has evolved across time. However, the triumph of human rights is rooted in paradox and in their principles' patent
violations during the age of the Holocaust. In my opinion one of the most horrible consequences of the violation of human
rights in that period consists in the survivors' being doomed to silence for more than twenty years. The survivors' words had to
confront the resistance of language to represent what was thought of as unrepresentable and the people's refusal to listen: they
were deprived even of the right to speak. Here the problem of authenticity and inauthenticity is called into question. Geoffrey
Hartman's book Scars of the Spirit is a fundamental text to start with in the examination of the consequences of the annihilation
of man's rights. I will conclude my paper by examining John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006), Binjamin
Wilkomirski's Fragments (1996) and William Styron's Sophie's Choice (1982) so as to illustrate my assumptions through
Daniela Carpi is professor of English Literature at the Department of English Studies, Faculty of Foreign Literatures,
University of Verona. Her fields of research are: literature and law, literature and science, literature and visual arts,
Renaissance theatre, Postmodernism, Critical theory.
Rights of the future generations
Sule Sahin Ceyan, Marmara University, Turkey
The distinctive feature of a legal system is hidden under the transformation of instinctive fears to a rational ground. Unlike
animals, human beings have the ability of dealing with the problematic issues in a reasonable way; hence they can take
satisfactory remedial actions in time. According to a well-known theory of social contract, the Hobbesian approach, people
formed a contract and gave sovereignty to an authority in order to get rid of the ‘state of nature’ that was surrounded with
hostility and aggression. This way, a civil society has been established and the way of receiving social order, through the rule of
law, has been found. Apart from the hypothetical characters of social contract theories, the presence of law (especially general
principles and the other sources of international law) is widely accepted as the guarantee of human rights.
The article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines the human rights as ²the rights and freedoms
to which all humans are entitled.² This postulate, which is corroborated by the natural law theories, includes universality and
equality. Some of the human rights can be listed under the following titles: civil and political rights, minority and group rights,
environmental rights and social rights. Despite the questionable structure of intergenerational rights, The Declaration on the
Responsibilities of the Present Generation Towards the Future Generation confer the responsibility of ensuring that the needs
and interests of present and future are fully safeguarded, to the present generations.
In this paper the concept of ‘human rights’ will be discussed under the scope of intergenerational equity. Substantial answers
will be sought to the following questions: Do the human rights supply a strong argument for the rights of future people? Who
are they? Does the role of the state effect the responsibilities and obligations of existing people, on behalf of the non-existing
ones? Do the rights of future generations depend on the respect that the contemporary generations show? What kind of legal
arrangements should be done to protect their benefits?
Sule Sahin Ceyan is associate professor at Marmara University Faculty of Law, Philosophy and Sociology of Law
Departmentma. Areas of expertise are in legal theory including legal positivism, separation of law and morals, nature of
rights, modern and traditional forms of dispute resolution mechanisms.
Dangerous Liaisons: Republican Democracy and Human Rights in Switzerland
Gianni D'Amato, Institut Forum suisse pour l'étude des migrations et de la population (SFM), University of Neuchâtel,
Brigitte Schnegg, Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies, University of Bern, Switzerland
From an historical perspective, the relationship between republican democracies and human rights has not always been easy. In
fact, it has often been difficult and controversial, in particular in long-established republics such as Switzerland and the U.S.
Despite the differences in their histories, the two “sister republics,” as the two countries were once called, have both had an
ambiguous relationship to human rights. The exclusion of African Americans in the United States from full civil rights until
after World War II and the exclusion of women’s rights in Switzerland until the early 1970s are only two examples that
illustrate the exclusive access to the rule of the Republic and the limited access to a comprehensive citizenship. The rule of the
people does not necessarily converge with human rights standards, as the recent acceptance of the Minaret Initiative in
Switzerland proved. This session will highlight some critical aspects of the “dangerous liaisons” between republicanism and
human rights issues and discuss how the complex relationship between the two can be understood from a legal, historical and
Brigitte Schnegg is professor of history and director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies at the University of
Bern. She is also a board member of the Swiss Competence Center for Human Rights and the vice president of the Swiss
Association for Gender Studies. Her current research is on the history of the Commission of the Status of Women and her
research interests include the history of gender during enlightenment, autobiographies and diaries in the 18th and 19th
centuries, and the history of poverty.
Gianni D'Amato is Professor of Migration and Citizenship Studies at the University of Neuchâtel and Director of the Swiss
Forum of Migration and Population Studies (SFM). His research interests are focused on citizenship, transnationalism,
populism and the history of migration. Gianni D'Amato has coordinated several international and national research
cooperations on citizenship, transnationalism and populism. He is author of Vom Ausländer zum Bürger. Der Streit um die
politische Integration von Einwanderern in Deutschland, Frankreich und der Schweiz (Lit Verlag 3rd edition, 2005) and co-
authered and co-edited, among others Herausforderung Stadt. Städtische Migrationspolitik in der Schweiz und in Europa
(Seismo Verlag, 2005) and Mit dem Fremden politisieren. Rechtspopulismus und Migrationspolitik in der Schweiz seit den
1960er Jahren (Zürich, Chronos Verlag, 2008).
Human Rights and Cultural Relativism
Aysel Dogan, Kocaeli University, Turkey
Traditionally, human rights are conceived as moral rights, which are possessed by all persons owing to their being human. Yet,
it is not an uncommon view that owing to its historical or cultural heritage, each society has its own peculiar conception of
human rights and justice. While some emphasize cultural diversity and historical background of local communities, others stress
incommensurability of values, changing from one social setting to another. In this paper, I try to indicate that main arguments
put forward in favor of cultural relativism are far from convincing. Despite the emphasis put on the incommensurability of
values, relativists are unable to show that moral values are not comparable. Without lying down the content of the traditional
norms of local communities and their justificatory reasons, it remains unclear why one should think that each cultural practice
or traditional norm deserves the same respect as any other.
Blind spots and filters in human rights narratives: Informers and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland
Ron Dudai, Queens University Belfast, U.K.
This paper argues that the normative and practical framework of the human rights response to violence and conflict involve a
“processing” of the experience into a human rights narrative. Such narratives, grounded in human rights law, emphasize some
facets of conflicts at the expense of others, privileging some perspectives and experiences over others, and can often overlook
aspects which otherwise resonate strongly in the affected society. The argument is explored using the example of the issue of
informing in the Northern Ireland conflict.
The actions of informers, reprisals against real and alleged informers, and broader effects on communities, have been a central
feature of the conflict, as well as the period of transition out of conflict, and continue to elicit strong responses in the media and
culture. However, the issue has been underplayed in the mainstream transitional justice response. This paper explores several
reasons for this gap. These include several blind spots of traditional human rights reporting: the cosmopolitan outlook of human
rights norms which lead to overlooking the importance of perceived betrayal in the eyes of many communities; the abstract
descriptions of political violence which tend to underplay the role of personal relationships and emotions; the framing of
individuals as either victims or perpetrators, rather than using more complex categories; and the failure to deal adequately with
actions by non-state actors.
In exploring these questions, the paper contrasts the mainstream human rights approach with pertinent examples from two other
genres: David Park’s 2008 novel The Truth Commissioner, in which informing forms the central narrative axis in the
exploration of dealing with the past in Northern Ireland; and Voices from the Grave, a recently published book of interviews
with former IRA leader Brendan Hughes, where betrayal and responses to it form a recurring motif. These two narratives are
used to elucidate some of the shortcomings of human rights reporting, while their own limitations as representation of violence
and abuses are also examined.
Ron Dudai is a policy adviser in the International Secretariat, Amnesty International; and a PhD candidate, School of Law,
Queen’s University Belfast.
Not Just Violence: Signs and Symbols in Justice’s Video Stress
Johanna Fassl, Franklin College Switzerland
Justice, the most successful band of Ed Banger Records, is a French electronic music duo consisting of Gaspard Augé and
Xavier de Rosnay. The band’s first single “Waters of Nazareth” came out in 2005, followed by the EP “D.A.N.C.E” in May
2007, and their debut album “✝” in June 2007. The video for “D.A.N.C.E” was nominated best video of the year at the MTV
Video Music Awards 2007 and was subsequently awarded the Video Star Award at the European Music Awards in Munich.
The next video from the “✝”album, released in 2008 and titled “Stress,” was heavily criticized in both French and international
media due to its visual component. In the seven-minute clip, a group of adolescents, visibly of African and North African
descent, is rampaging through the streets of the Parisian periphery and Montmartre. They harass and wreak mayhem to a
grueling and nightmarish electro beat, while wearing jackets whose backs bear the symbol of Justice, a Christian cross, which is
also featured on stage at their concerts. After two years of silence, Augé and Rosnay sought to subdue the controversy by
releasing a statement defending the piece as a fusion of art and entertainment, and never intended as a stigmatization of the
banlieu, nor an incitation to violence or wanting to deliver a racist message.
Why did so many otherwise savvy consumers of popular culture not pick up on the artists’ intentions? The act of physical
violence, titled “Stress,” and committed under the banner of the cross and the label of Justice creates a multi-layered fabric of
signs laden with meanings, interpretations and critique. The paper will investigate the paradoxes inherent in the band’s name,
visual imagery, and symbolism and the (im)possibility to escape the cultural codes of interpretation.
Johanna Fassl is a professor at Franklin College Switzerland. Professor Fassl’s areas of specialization include the art and
architecture of Venice. Current research projects include notions of visuality in Enlightenment art, science, and philosophy.
‘The burkha is just like a maxi dress’: Young Muslims’ perspectives on human rights, popular culture and media influences.
Lieve Gies, Keele University, U.K.
Despite an apparent lack of knowledge of human rights law, many people do appear to have an intuitive grasp of the grammar
of human rights covering the core principles of dignity, equality, freedom and autonomy (Ministry of Justice, 2008; Kaur-
Ballagan et al, 2009). There is also evidence to suggest that some minorities may value specific freedoms, most importantly
freedom of religion, more than the general population does (Kaur-Ballagan et al, 2009). Human rights case law, on the other
hand, reveals that there may be a particular awareness of religious rights among school pupils from religious minority
backgrounds (R (on the application of Begum) V Headteacher and Governors of Denbigh High School  UKHL 15; R (on
the application of Watkins-Singh) v Governing Body of Aberdare Girls' High School  EWHC 1865 (admin)).
Furthermore, security and anti-terrorism policies are regarded as having transformed the Muslim population into a ‘suspect
community’ (Pantazis and Pemberton, 2010), potentially making Muslims more sensitive to human rights concerns. Against this
backdrop, this paper presents the findings of a small pilot study set in an inner-city school in a predominantly Muslim area in
Birmingham (UK). This study sought to establish pupils’ knowledge of human rights law and broader human rights principles.
It also aimed to examine whether pupils placed greater value on particular rights or principles. Using a short questionnaire, data
was collected on students’ prior knowledge of human rights and the sources it derives from. Next, research participants took
part in a deliberative workshop in which they debated a number of human rights-related issues. While some participants were
relatively unconcerned about the rights of detainees and the issue of torture, most felt particularly passionate about the freedom
to dress in accordance with one’s religious beliefs. Three further findings stand out: (1) popular culture (such as Hollywood
films, celebrity culture and fashion) served as an important reference in participants’ deliberations, (2) participants were
extremely critical of mainstream media representations of Islam and (3) participants regarded the opportunity to debate and
learn more about human rights as extremely valuable. The latter finding suggests that in cultivating a shared grammar of human
rights, debate is an important education tool, provided that it affords sufficient space not just for the exchange of reasoned
argument but also for the expression and contestation of human rights-unfriendly viewpoints.
Lieve Gies recently took up the post of Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication at Leicester University
in the U.K.
Where the modern state rests: Rights and democracy in L. T. Hobhouse’s political thought
Carla Larouco Gomes, University of Lisbon, Portugal
The debate on the limits of rights and liberty and on the articulation of the respect for the individual, on the one hand, with the
maintenance of law and social order, on the other, has always been delicate and, sometimes, controversial.
It is my main objective in this paper to understand the importance of rights and the supremacy of law as the main basis of the
democratic state in L.T. Hobhouse`s (1864-1929) political thought. Hobhouse, a renowned journalist and academic, developed
his ideas in an important period of the evolution of British liberal theory, which eventually determined the character of politics
in the 20th century and that is still an important referent in our days. The liberal proposal of L.T.Hobhouse had its origins in the
context of the infatuated debate on the legitimacy of Imperialism and in the sequence of the Industrial Revolution. Both these
facts caused dramatic political changes and social instability, to which the traditional guidelines that had oriented the action of
liberals no longer seemed to offer a sound political response. On the one hand, Hobhouse was fully aware of this fact and
contributed decisively to the reformulation of the ideals of liberalism, having therefore generally been acknowledged as one of
the major representatives of new liberalism. On the other hand, while defending an interventionist democratic state and its
commitment to social reform, he did not oppose the core principles of liberalism; not only did Hobhouse defend political
consent and individual rights, but he also stated his reverence and debt to earlier liberals.L.T. Hobhouse criticized the
mechanization of government and the use of force as he believed that political order depended on justice and that rights were
the basis of political relations and of state itself. As for democracy, it should be more than the mere government of the majority.
It had to express society as a whole.
Having in mind this broader context, I will analyze L.T. Hobhouse`s theory of rights, which he believed were the foundation of
the democratic state. In his quest for harmony as a social ideal, Hobhouse redefined the roles of the state, of society and of the
individual. These should work in cooperation and towards the same end: the achievement and maintenance of common good,
while allowing and promoting personal development. I will also address, even though not exhaustively, the evolution of the
notion of rights in the liberal thought and understand Hobhouse`s similarities to and differences from earlier liberals, bearing in
mind the context that under lied the author`s thinking. Are individual rights contrary to common good? How are society
common goals reconcilable with individual liberty? What is the role of the state in this context? How is democracy enabled or
constrained by rights? These are some of the questions I intend to answer to since, besides being crucial to the study of the
author´s political thinking, they are still of utmost importance in our days.
Carla Larouco Gomes is a doctoral student at the University of Lisbon. Her research is on on L. T. Hobhouse`s political
Disability law and changing cultural and historical perceptions
Ilze Grobbelaar-du Plessis, University of Pretoria, South Africa
The paper will focus on the perceptual cultural change in societies and resultant new approach with regard to the juridical
management of persons with disabilities aimed at a more inclusive and integrated public legal order with a view to protect and
promote the rights and interests of persons with disabilities on an equal footing with those of other persons.
Disability will be dealt with and evaluated with reference to two opposing models. These models of disability – the medical
and the social – represent two different cultural and historical notions about disability that globally find application in clearly
distinguishable legal approaches. The premise will be that for about the past thirty years, the social model (with a human rights
approach to disability) has globally gained considerable ground on the older medical model. In international law in particular
this perceptual change has found application in the comprehensive standardisation and universal acceptance of human rights, as
developed over the past decades under the leadership of the United Nations. The growing acceptance of the social model as
against the medical model is apparent in three other jurisdictions investigated in this work, namely Europe (within the context
of the European Council and the European Union), the United States of America and South Africa (African context). In all
three these jurisdictions the changing views as to how the law should respond in order to meet changing demands regarding
disability are reflected in the development of positive law. In terms of these divergent views disability is increasingly regarded,
as a form of diversity, in accordance with the social model (with a human rights approach to disability), in contrast with an
exclusive medical model. Disability therefore requires a unique legal dispensation in order to ensure genuine equal treatment
for persons with disabilities rather than a (mere) medical intervention in “deviate condition” or an “illness”. In the paper the
divergent legal dispensation regarding disability will be continuously described and evaluated through the prism of the two
models which will reflect the historical context and cultural believes regarding people with disabilities within the jurisdictions.
Disability and the cultural as well as historical perceptions regarding disability, will inevitably engage a number of core areas of
the conference and the study of human rights.
Ilze teaches Constitutional Law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Vernacularisation of human rights in the context of agricultural modernisation in Papua
Irene Hadiprayitno, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
The paper will be based on the findings from a preliminary ethnography fieldwork in Papua, Indonesia.
The research focuses on negotiations on the right to food in the context of agricultural modernisation. Here the usage and
meaning of human rights in the setting of plural legal orders will be addressed to understand how human rights are re-
conceptualised through social practices and regulations.
Irene Hadiprayitno is a postdoc researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Her research interest focus on the
interactions between social and legal aspects that define and redefine the meaning of human rights and shape their enforcement
in development processes and natural resources management.
Habermas lost: The inchoate European polity
Maggie Humphreys, Franklin College Switzerland
The European Union is often pointed to as a model for political, economic and social integration. The regional organization is
also highly associated with a Kantian cosmopolitan vision, as theorized by Ulrich Beck, David Held, Jurgen Habermas and
others. Utilizing Habermas’ theoretical anatomy of a post-national legal structure, I will analyze the elements within the
European Union which demonstrate the failure of this cosmopolitan vision. Both political and economic trends in the EU
demonstrate a strong aversion to transnational governance. This analysis will serve to elucidate how euroscepticism can be
expected to grow in the EU, and how the EU’s experiment in integration is demonstrative of a civic preference for the political
structure of the nation-state and what this denotes for the larger cosmopolitan political project.
Maggie Humphreys Graduated from Franklin College in May 2011.
Human rights & female imprisonment
Khadijeh Nouralizadeh Khorrami, Iran
Esmeel Haditabar, University of Mazandaran, Iran
Everyone has human rights, and responsibilities to respect and protect these rights may, in principle, extend across political and
social boundaries. Nowadays to adopt human rights have become a fact of the world. Individual liberty is one of the most
fundamental of human rights, recognized in international human rights instruments and national constitutions throughout the
world.The loss of liberty that results from imprisonment is inevitable but, in practice, imprisonment regularly impinges several
other human rights as well. The greatest harm is done to the prisoner and his or her family. For instance, over 80 percent of
imprisoned women are mothers. Worrying about their sons and daughters is a constant ordeal. Behind the pain of separation lies
the ominous prospect that it may be permanent, since according to one recent estimate, 38 percent of prison mothers
permanently lose custody of their children. Unfortunately, based on international statistics, now more than half a million women
and girls are held in penal institutions throughout the world, either as awaiting trial, pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or
having been convicted and sentenced.
The statistics related to the women entered into the prisons from selected years in Iran declare that during this period, 90,498
women suffered the custody which this number is considerable.The criminal justice system as a whole needs to work to find and
implement alternatives to imprisonment for women. Governmental and non-governmental organizations that focus on women’s
issues, base on culture and situation, should be encouraged to consider the issue of women’s imprisonment and to contribute to
discussions on how alternatives to it can best be found.
Dr. Emaeel Haditabar, is Assistant Professor at the University of Mazandaran, in the areas of Criminal Law, Criminal
Procedure, Criminology, Prison Study, Human Rights, and Prison Alternatives.
Khadijeh Khorrami is a LLM student at University of Mazandaran.
The discursive shift from “aid” to “reparations” by the African Union: Analysis of the legal logic and media coverage of the
case for climate change reparations
Tyler Harrison and Abigail Selzer King, Purdue University, U.S.A.
In the build-up to the Conference of Parties in Copenhagen to negotiate climate change treaties, the African Union decided to
present a coordinated stance demanding reparations from the international community for damages causes by climate change.
While these strategies were relatively unsuccessful, a number of countries continued with this rhetorical strategy in the build-up
to COP 16 in Cancun and in the exchanges that occurred there. This discourse of climate reparations represents a key shift in
strategy from a primarily aid-based discourse to a rhetorically blame-based framework built from historical, political, and
cultural frameworks for understanding large-scale harms. To understand this discursive shift we engage in comparative legal
analysis using an analytic framework derived from literature on reparations and reparations politics. We compare four aspects of
reparations claims from successful and unsuccessful historical cases to the rhetoric advanced for climate reparations.
Ultimately, the legal logic underwriting calls for climate change reparations is flawed and is unlikely to meet the standards of
historically successful reparations claims. Furthermore, the discourses of climate change reparations became a potential liability
as conservative politicians rejected the assignment of blame and guilt associated with reparations and instead argued that the
Cancun Conference of Parties was a “redistribution of wealth” conference. While the Cancun agreement established a $100
billion green fund, the mechanisms for funding and distribution are murky and represent only a step in the ongoing negotiations.
The rhetorical strategies related to climate change compensation are likely to have continued effect in mobilizing parties on both
sides of the issue.
Tyler Harrison is associate professor in the Department of Communication at Purdue University and a Research Associate
with the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. The overarching features of his work focus on the improvement of
public welfare through research on organ donation and conflict management. Disseminating results to community and non-
profit groups to improve to improve real-world practice. His research concern is with how larger social influences shape
interpretation, interaction, decision-making, and collective action. He is currently working on projects: to promote organ
donation through Division of Motor Vehicle branches; to understand how perceptions of organizational justice influence
decisions to use dispute resolution systems; and to analyze media and discourse related to climate change negotiations and
Abigail Selzer King (M.A., Purdue University) is currently a doctoral student, Alan H. Monroe graduate scholar, and Bilsland
fellow in the Department of Communication at Purdue University. Her research interests include organizational rhetoric,
temporality, and embodiment. Much of her current research focuses specifically on the organizational discourse and rhetorical
strategies of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (1923-31) and more generally on the historical marginalization of women’s
involvement in racial political movements. Her other research interests include continental social theory, inter-organizational
relations, and the construction of temporality in career narratives.
Under the siege of terrorism: Media and the law
Banu Baybars Hawks, Kadir Has University, Turkey
The rule of law is important to preserve the established order and strengthening the rule of law is necessary to achieve greater
human security and human rights for all people around the world. How does the rule of law intersect with a range of critical
issues, such as terrorism? This is a question that needs to be discussed comprehensively.Law should respond to terrorism
consistently with its own values and without undermining the foundations of a democratic legal system. This is a very difficult
task.Terrorism continues today as the ultimate violation of human rights, with indiscriminate killings. When threatened with
terrorism, every nation claims the right to take appropriate measures to protect themselves from violence and eradicate
terrorism. Therefore, defense against terrorism is shown as a sufficient reason by governments for curtailing liberties. At this
point, a balance needs to be established between individual rights, including media freedoms and legal restrictions undertaken
in the name of national security.
This study examines some key controls over the media through a comparative study of two nations: Turkey and the United
States. It concludes that although the origin and nature of the documents protecting freedoms, particularly freedom of speech
and press, are quite different in those two countries, restrictions brought on those freedoms have been fairly the same.
Governments limited freedoms in both these countries by issuing laws, decrees, and judicial decisions. It is revealed that
international terrorism is one of the major factors used in the justification of governments’ attempts to limit freedoms.
Banu Baybars Hawks, (Ph.D. University of Tennnessee, Knoxville, School of Communications, 2002) is an Associate Professor,
Chair of Public Relations Department, and Vice Dean at the Faculty of Communications at Kadir Has University, Istanbul,
Western feminism, African feminist critiques and human rights rhetoric about harmful traditional practices: The example of
female genital cutting
Daniela Hrzan, University of Konstanz/Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
Using gender, race and sexuality as categories of analysis, my proposed paper will focus on the international feminist debate
about female genital cutting while paying particular attention to the UN concept of “harmful traditional practices” (sometimes
also referred to as “harmful cultural practices”). In the first part of the article, I will trace the roots of the concept of “harmful
traditional practices” to United Nations concerns to identify and eliminate forms of harm to women and children that do not
easily fit into a human rights framework as well as document more recent attempts by Western feminists to rethink the concept
to make it more inclusive of culturally based gendered violence in the West, for example with regard to intersex surgery,
pornographic beauty practices or male circumcision. Particular emphasis will be devoted to an examination of how different
agents in the debate define “gender-based violence” on the one side and “cultural practices” on the other side, and to the social
and legal solutions they propose. Furthermore, it will be analyzed whether work by African women that critiques Western
human rights rhetoric and interventions, specifically with regard to the subject of female genital cutting, has been taken up by
Daniela Hrzan is currently employed in academic staff development and international affairs at the University of Konstanz,
Germany where she also works as an instructor for the Gender Studies program.
Culture and Human Rights: Co-creation of normative standards through deliberation and capacity-building
Puja Kapai, The University of Hong-Kong, Hong Kong
Given law's fluidity and permeability, it is constantly informed by external systems and is therefore a matrixed system which
relies on internal and external feeds as opposed to its characterisation as a fully autonomous mechanism that applies its distinct
framework to social and legal problems. Necessarily therefore, cultural systems have been concretised in the form of law.
However, law represents but a picture of culture at a particular historical moment. This creates a conflict for the law and cultural
systems where culture continues to evolve over time, yet legal rules fail to adapt at the same pace. Moreover, in light of the
fixity of law's systems, it is in a constant tension with the state of cultural flux.
In the field of human rights, this has created a state of impasse given the importance of the right to culture but at the same time,
law threatens culture through its fixity which manifests itself in the misrepresentation of misinterpretation of culture. The group
most affected by this conflict and the lack of a suitable framework to address the difficulties this state of conflict produces, is
In light of the critical importance of recognizing the intersectionality of equalities and freedoms and their correlation with
notions of dignity, particularly those attaching to the complex identity of the minority ethnic or religious woman, this paper
seeks to argue that deliberative democratic decision-making with respect to religious and cultural practices of the groups
concerned would provide a more meaningful and practical protection of the rights of religious and cultural minorities, whilst
building capacities and momentum for a changes in women's rights protective mechanisms. Constituting and enlisting women
as active agents in the process of addressing cultural and religious practices and beliefs, discursive and deliberative processes
would serve to ensure that all relevant voices are heard and accounted for, thereby rendering the decision on the acceptability or
otherwise of a practice, a rational, reasoned and constitutionally acceptable one. Such a reasoned reflection of society’s
collective decision would help legitimize policies regarding cultural practices and facilitate progressive change. This would
deliver courts from their current predicament in choosing between culture and law. Moreover, this process would concretise the
active membership of women as agents for change in their circles of importance, imbuing them with a recognized and
mobilizing sense of citizenship and responsibility.
Puja Kapai is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong and Visiting Research Fellow at the
Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Indigenous Peoples' and international law: The persistence of colonialism
Adil Hasan Khan, Iheid, Geneva Switzerland
The encounter between international law and indigenous peoples has been one in which the law has often acted as a means of
silencing, subjugating and materially dispossessing them. Recent developments, including the adoption of the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly in 2007, seem to suggest a dramatic reversal in this tale and
the commencement of a new post-colonial epoch. However, a more critical perspective on where things stand highlights the
continued failure of indigenous peoples in gaining recognition of an undiluted ‘group’ right to self-determination. Further, there
has been a growing culturization of indigenous rights in international law, with ‘cultural difference’ being increasingly
recognized as the underlying basis for these rights. Their combined result is evidenced by the emerging understanding of the
right to self-determination of indigenous peoples as a mere principle for interpreting and fleshing out the human right to culture.
By focusing on these ‘dark sides’, this paper seeks to advance our understanding of the processes at play when international law
becomes a site of subaltern resistance.
Adil Hasan Khan is pursuing his PhD in international law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
at Geneva (IHEID). His PhD research project explores the participation of indigenous peoples in the international lawmaking
process in recent decades, especially with regard to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of
2007. His research interests include: legal theory; indigenous peoples’ rights; human rights; postcolonial theory and cultural
studies of the law.
Ban the burqa and other practices? Issues of personality in human rights law
Jill Marshall, Queen Mary University of London, U.K.
This paper questions European human rights law’s interpretation of the cultural significance of the wearing of religious
symbols. This is compared to what the author sees as other manifestations of identity expression to see how the law may
interpret these differently. Particular focus rests on arguments for and against legally banning the wearing of the Islamic
headscarf in Europe. Analysis makes use of theoretical literature on personal freedom, agency and identity, and links this to
Council of Europe documents, and the European Court of Human Rights' case law.
Jill Marshall is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Law. Her current research investigates the law relating to certain
aspects of personal identity, including human rights law, adoption law, religious identity, gender, and the moral and legal
philosophy as to what the self, personal freedom and identity actually mean.
Prosecuting and defending cultural practices: Influence of the cultural defense on criminal liability in South Africa
Jacques Matthee, Institutional Language Directorate of the North-West University, South Africa
Cultural practices are essential to the identity of various cultural groups in South Africa and as such should not be interfered
with. Cultural practices are, however, clouded by a contentious legal debate seeing as though they can lead to the commission
of a common law crime and/or an infringement of basic human rights protected in the Constitution of the Republic of South
Africa, 1996. This situation results in unfortunate and inevitable harm being caused to other members and non-members of the
Despite the contentious issues above a lot of appeals are made for strong measures to ensure the protection of minority cultures
against an encroachment by more dominant cultures. One of the more frequent appeals is made to culture as providing a
justification for certain practices. What makes this appeal particularly interesting is the fact that it weighs claims of concern for
the “victims” of cultural practices against claims for the defense of a practice based on culture. Last-mentioned has been
referred to as the “cultural defense” in criminal law. Because both claims are quite contentious in own right it is quite difficult
to calculate the weight to be afforded to each claim.
This paper focuses on the question whether cultural practices with detrimental consequences can be justified in terms of the
South African Criminal law. Moreover, this paper focuses on the “possible” influence of the cultural defense, a defense not
formally recognized in the South African Criminal law, on the general requirements for criminal liability. The scope of the
paper is, however, limited to the question of unlawfulness and the exclusion of culpability in the context of the Criminal law.
Jacques Matthee is a temporary lecturer at the faculty of law and an educational interpreter at the Institutional Language
Directorate of the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), South Africa, where he obtained the degrees LLB and LLM
in 2004 and 2007 respectively.
Domestic violence, culture and human rights
Ronagh Mcquigg, Queens University Belfast, U.K.
Domestic violence has always been present in society, however it is only relatively recently that it has become an issue of
public concern. Historically, the political theory of liberalism and its analysis of the public and private spheres contributed
towards the creation of a culture whereby violence against women in the home was viewed as a private matter and not as an
issue which should prompt legal intervention. The legacy of this cultural norm still remains, as even now it is widely
recognised that the responses of laws and legal systems fail to provide sufficient protection to victims of domestic violence.
This paper will discuss the manner in which this culture of non-intervention was reflected also in the approach of human rights
law to domestic violence. Until relatively recently the response of international human rights law to this issue was clearly
inadequate. Rights were developed in such a manner as to create a public/private divide, whereby human rights law was upheld
in the public sphere where the state was involved, but was not applied in the private sphere. This dichotomy tended to operate
in a gendered manner, for example, domestic violence did not come within the ambit of the traditional interpretation of human
rights law. This is demonstrated by the fact that, although domestic violence constitutes a clear violation of articles 2, 3 and 8
of the European Convention on Human Rights, until 2007 the issue had not been directly addressed by the European Court of
However, cultural attitudes towards domestic violence are changing and, as a reflection of this transformation, efforts are now
increasingly being made to improve the effectiveness of the responses of legal systems to this issue. This cultural shift has also
impacted on the response of human rights law, as demonstrated by the fact that in a series of recent cases the European Court
has now clearly established that domestic violence constitutes a human rights abuse. This paper will discuss the approach of the
European Court in these cases and examine what positive obligations states now have in relation to victims of domestic
violence. It will then focus on the gaps in the jurisprudence and discuss how the case law of the Court may develop in the
future. In analyzing this issue the question of whether human rights law could in turn be used to influence cultural perceptions
of domestic violence will also be examined.
Ronagh McQuigg is a lecturer at Queens University Belfast, his research interests are in effectiveness of international human
rights law, with a particular focus on how human rights law can be used in relation to violence against women.
When culture and human rights clash: A South African perspective
John Cantiur Mubangizi, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
With the advent of a new political dispensation in 1994, South Africa is now a constitutional democracy with one of the most
progressive constitutions in the world. One of the main features of the South African Constitution is that is contains a Bill of
Rights which provides for all categories of human rights that are ordinarily included in most international human rights
instruments. At the same time, South Africa is a multicultural society characterized by extensive cultural diversity which
manifests itself in terms of diverse cultural practices and beliefs. Unfortunately, some of those cultural practices are not only
repugnant but are also in conflict with certain international human rights norms and various rights contained in the Bill of
Rights. These cultural practices include female genital mutilation, virginity testing, polygamy, and payment of bride price (also
known as “lobola”) to mention but a few. These practices are rooted in a culture of discrimination against women. They
amount to violations of human rights which function as instruments for socializing women into prescribed gender roles within
the society. They are also linked to the unequal position of women in political, social, and economic structures of societies
where they are practiced. There are other cultural traditions that violate the rights of other groups of people such as children.
The purpose of this paper is to highlight the historical and constitutional contexts within which various cultural practices and
traditions do clash with certain human rights norms in South Africa. The paper will examine the various ways through which
human rights can be promoted and protected without compromising the cultural integrity of the people. The paper will also
explore the role of customary law in reconciling culture and human rights and to what extent this is possible in South Africa.
Professor John Cantius Mubangizi is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Law and Management Studies at
the University of KwaZulu-Natal
Email Address: Mubangizij@ukzn.ac.za
Application of “repugnancy doctrine” to women’s customary right of inheritance: What has changed since the supreme court of
Nigeria’s judgment in MOJEKWU V. MOJEKWU?
Ikechukwu Bernard Okafor, afe Babalola University, Nigeria
Like in many other African countries, customary law in Nigeria did not only predate the colonial legal regime but also survived
its onslaught for over a century. Today, customary laws in Nigeria still apply to various critical areas of the lives of the people
notwithstanding the preponderance of the English system of laws, both received and locally enacted. Such critical areas include
marriage, inheritance and succession to properties, administration of estates, tenancy, among many others. One unfortunate
aspect of this system of laws is that the rules are usually unfavourable or less favourable to women especially in the Eastern
parts of the country. By the rules of application of customary law in Nigeria, the courts are required to invalidate any customary
law found to be repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. In the above case involving the right of some women
to landed properties the Supreme Court of Nigeria examined instances where such pronouncement can be validly made. The
purpose of this article is to examine the position of this apex court in Nigeria and see how much it has impacted on the
recognition and enforcement of right of women to properties under the customary laws in Nigeria.
Ikechukwu Bernard Okafor is from Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. He has a special research interest
in multidisciplinary areas of intellectual property, human rights customary law and commercial law.
A Study of the Phenomenon of Medical Tourism within the Context of the General Agreement of Trade in Services
Aishwarya Padmanabhan, National University of Juridical Science, India.
Cardiac surgery costs USD 30,000 in the US but USD 8,000 in India; a bone marrow transplant is USD 250,000 in the US but
only USD 69,000 in India; a dental filling is priced at USD 400 in the US but only USD 40 in India –and includes round-trip
airfare and a brief vacation package. A knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of
what it would in the United States and further, a Lasik eye surgery worth $3,700 in the U.S. is available in many other countries
for only $730. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater: A full facelift that would cost $20,000 in the U.S. runs about $1,250
in South Africa. Why put up with expensive, run-of-the-mill health care at home when you can be treated just as well abroad?
Health care generates some USD 3 trillion per year while, in 2009 alone, tourism accounted for USD 3.3 trillion in the GDP of
countries throughout the world. From Greeks visiting Epidaurus to Romans immersing themselves in the healing waters of Bath
to 19th century Europeans flocking to spa towns and sanatoria, people have travelled long distances hoping to restore their
health for millennia. What is new is that, in spite of the existence of oftentimes excellent local medical care in their countries of
origin, many medical tourists residing in richer countries are simply unable to access what is right next door. The sphere of
health care has been transformed by private, for-profit interests, where price and private insurance schemes reign and dictate
who has access to treatment, surgery and medication and who does not.
Medical tourism has become a US$60 billion a year business with growing rate about 20% by a year which could increase to
$100 billion by 2012. This paper aims to look at the reasons for this steady increase in such tourism. Further, it looks at the
impact on both the host/origin countries (with special focus on USA) as well as destination countries. There is also a cross-
border study of the situation in the Asian region (including Thailand, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore and Iran) and also an
incorporation of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and its effect in encouraging medical tourism. The paper
concludes by talking about how the benefits perceived by the developing countries from medical tourism must be made
equitable in order for all those citizens to take advantage of the high quality of healthcare, as well as providing an incentive for
the developed nations suffering from the depletion of consumers for health care in their economy to improve efficiency in their
systems and structure of health care and insurance provided to their citizens. Thus I will conclude that even a modest surge in
global medical tourism could prove a powerful catalyst for government bureaucracies in developed nations and health-
maintenance organizations to think afresh about what they do.
Aishwarya Padmanabhan is at present studying in the Second Year of her law degree at the National University of Juridical
Sciences (NUJS) in Kolkata, India. She is interested in pursuing international law for her further studies in law.
Not equal enough: Legislating inequality for indigenous women in Canada
Pamela Palmater, Ryerson University, Canada
My paper will focus my postcolonial indigenous identity research specifically on the gender inequality still present in the Indian
Act and other proposed federal legislation. The traditional Indigenous Nations in Canada, like the Mi’kmaq, Mohawk, and
Maliseet, have been divided into hundreds of tiny Indian bands by Canada through the various amended Indian Acts from 1876
to 2010. Their vast traditional territories have been taken up for settlement and the little land that remains in their possession is
concentrated in tiny reserves. The only way for colonial governments to accomplish the settlement of Indigenous lands was to
create assimilation policies which not only tried to convert and educate Indigenous peoples, but also tried to ensure their
populations would gradually reduce over time.
In the postcolonial era, Canada's legislative determination of who is an Indian continues to divide traditional Indigenous
identities into many legal and political units that have resulted in political, social, and physical divisions within families and
communities. Many Indigenous people now identify as status and non-status Indians and band members and non-band
members. Despite recent attempts to reassert traditional identities, some Indigenous communities still use these colonial tools to
determine identity and belonging.
This paper looks at the long history of government interference with the identities of Indigenous peoples and their communities
and shows how that continued interference has resulted in divided communities, lengthy litigation and bitter politics, and
specifically focuses on how these laws have disproportionately excluded Indigenous women and their children. While Canada
has officially rejected assimilation as a goal, the antiquated Indian Act still imposes racist and sexist criteria for determining
Indian identity. This in turn impacts access to land rights, treaty rights and other constitutionally protected rights. This has
resulted in Indigenous women being forced to bring these equality issues before our domestic and international courts. While
there have been some limited victories, the court process is slow and thousands of children are not able to access education,
health, housing and other vital social services in the meantime. Based on my research and experience in the federal legislative
process, I will argue that the Canadian government does not treat Indigenous women equally with Indigenous men and in fact
knowingly continues to legislate their inequality resting on a policy of financial prudence.
Pamela Palmater is an Indigenous lawyer and professor from the Mi’kmaq Nation in New Brunswick, Canada. She teach and
research in the area of Indigenous law, politics, and governance, and head Ryerson University’s new Centre for Indigenous
Calypso music as a fulcrum for law, culture and human rights
Everard Mark Phillips, Independent Scholar, Trinidad and Tobago
The calypso, which forms an integral part of the cultural carnival celebration of many Caribbean communities in the Diaspora,
is a syncretic popular art form that has its origin in Africa. Recording as it does some of the experience from my extensive
ethnographic research completed at the LSE, the principal objective of this presentation is to illuminate key processes that
underlie a different, yet complementary approach by calypsonians, as agents of the non-governmental political action that is
driven by a need of calypsonians to push for Human Rights.
This presentation is also underpinned by a pre-recognition of the formal and informal modes of dispute resolution. It extends on
that duality, adding a third model that is a non-formal cultural mechanism of community “Conflict Transformation,” (Bush and
Folger). By adding this new set of intellectual tools, the presentation will show the language of calypso as an expression of
In so doing the presentation will make a significant contribution to the fields of Human Rights, Dispute Resolution and Legal
Anthropology and will augment the link between methods of dispute resolution, social sciences and culture in concurrence with
Clifford Geertz’s expressed view that law is a type of social abstraction that is driven by culture and imagination, and is
designed to regulate social life. Incorporating Geertz view, this presentation will argue that there is a direct relationship and
correspondence between law on the one hand, and myth, ritual, ideology, art or classification systems focused on structures of
meaning, especially on the symbols and systems of symbols through whose agency such structures are formed, communicated
Dr. Phillips is the author of the book “The Political Calypso: A Sociolinguistic Process of Conflict Transformation.” He also
holds a PhD in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from the Law Department of the LSE is also an ADR practitioner.
The United Nations and women's rights: Current trends and issues
Frances Pilch, United States Air Force Academy, U.S.A
The creation of UN Women in January 2011 occasions this interest in the impact of the United Nations in addressing issues of
women's rights. Not limited to an assessment of civil and political rights of women or the engendering of the United Nations
itself, the response of the United Nations to systematic rape of women during violent conflict, the obstacles to economic
empowerment of women, and efforts to advance women through the Millenium Challenge Goals of the United Nations will
receive attention. A frank assessment of how much has been achieved, where the international organization has fallen short to
date, and major emerging challenges will be attempted.
Frances Pilch is a Full Professor, on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at the United States Air Force Academy.
My principal work is in women's/gender issues, esp violence against women, and also disease as a national security priority.
Human Rights: Narrative Arguments
Nirmala Pillay, Liverpool John Moores University, Turkey
Attempts to make sense of the attacks on American, Spanish and British targets by people of Middle Eastern origin has
produced scholarship that is rich and varied. Some useful and not so useful attempts have been made to uncover the religious,
political and ideological motivations for this. In all these arguments there is a guiding assumption that differences in culture and
religion must be fully understood in order to promote human rights universally and to defeat a new threat to global peace.
Human rights is part of a global common purpose promoting the idea that rights, enforced in every jurisdiction, could mitigate
the conditions that promote for terrorism and war. However, despite the creation of an international human rights regime of
regional and multilateral treaties, established procedures and enforcement mechanisms, human rights has failed to achieve a
bridging language even though it is predicated on the dignity of the individual irrespective of culture, religion and political
In the narrative of rights, human rights is conceived of as an instance of Western culture compatible with Western style
government and democracy. The difficulty, from the point of view of Western scholars, is how to universalise a notion of rights
not naturally compatible with social and political traditions elsewhere. The bulk of the scholarship divides into cultural
relativists and universalists, liberals and communitarians. There is now even an impressive body of work by non-western
scholars discussing the compatibility of rights with Islam, Hinduism and Confucianism.
This paper takes issue with this argument originally precipitated by the American Anthropological Association when they
expressed their concerns about foisting western values upon other cultures, to the drafters of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. The AAA overlooked the fact that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a response to the torture and
death inflicted by a European government on swathes of its own citizens. The UDHR was an attempt to prevent this from ever
happening again. It was a recognition that Western culture and formal democracy in Germany was not enough to halt the
violation of the rights of German citizens. Too few scholars have drawn attention to human rights violations in the West or
ventured an explanation for what is a fairly typical feature of Western governments on the same pattern as the numerous cultural
and psychological explanations offered for the lack of respect for rights in non- Western societies. The pattern of violations by
Western governments are regarded as exceptions to the basic cultural predisposition towards freedom and rights but similar
abuses of rights in non-Western societies is accounted for in terms of cultural characteristics. This paper queries this approach
and the assumptions informing it. Unless a different line of discussion is pursued the human rights discourse will remain bogged
in a 70 year old question that will offer little to promote the true universality of rights.
Nirmala Pillay is currently a Senior Lecturer in Public Law in the School of Business and Law, Liverpool John Moores
University. Research interests include international human rights and legal ethics.
Cesare Beccaria’s _On Crimes and Punishments and the Construction of Respectability through Law
Marcus Pyka, Franklin College Switzerland
The Milanese aristocrat Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) with his main work _On Crimes and Punishments_ is generally
considered to be the founding father of criticism of capital punishment and hence widely regarded as seminal for the legal
discourse that has developped since the time of the Enlightenment. In recent years, he also received more and more attention in
the context of enlightened Political Economy in Habsburg Italy before the Napoleonic Wars. However, this talk wants to focus
on one aspect of Beccaria’s work that has not received as much attention so far, which nevertheless played a significant role in
the enlightened discourse about the Law – the question concerning the role of the middle classes in society, and how the Law
shapes and even dictates their respectability. Respectability is here considered to be essentially a means of identity politics, and
hence something that might inherently conflict with some key values of Enlightened legal discourse. By highlighting these
aspects, my talk aims at deepening our understanding of the rule of law for societal and cultural developments in Modern
Europe at large.
Marcus Pyka has studied History as well as Jewish and Islamic Studies. He received his doctorate from Ludwigs Maximilians
University of Munich (Germany) with an award winning thesis on identity politics in the work of the seminal Jewish historian
Heinrich Graetz. After a Harry Starr Fellowship at Harvard University and a visiting Lectureship at University College Dublin
(Ireland), joined the faculty at Franklin College in 2007 as Assistant Professor of History. His research is centered around
questions of identity politics in Europe during the long 19th century. His current research project deals with the impact of
migration and traveling to Switzerland and northern Italy from the 18th to the early 20th century.
People’s perception about law: A comparative approach –Canada, Japan and Mexico
Naayeli E. Ramirez, University of British Columbia, Canada
Democratic systems require a clear vision of the population’s opinions and views about the institutions in power and the
regulations that protect them. Understanding such behaviors and attitudes is then crucial for defining the needs of a certain
constitutional system. Moreover, judicial institutions all over the world, as many other institutions in constitutional
democracies, struggle everyday with an important aspect of their task: to draft legal decisions that make sense in the social
environment of their state. Scholars have asserted that people in different states have different ideas about order, law, rule,
authorities and the role of the individual within their community and that efficient legal forms recognize such ideas. Such
differences are usually considered cultural differences and have important influences on how people in different states interact
with the legal system and judicial institutions. This paper explores the ideas of Canadian, Japanese and Mexican people about
law, focusing on the judiciary and the role of the law within their communities. It is a pilot comparative study that discusses the
results of a survey of opinion conducted in Canada, Japan and Mexico regarding law. The findings seem to point out that the
possible explanations of the paradoxical attitudes of Mexican people (Canadian, Japanese, etc.) towards law are not to be found
in a particular idea of the law in each jurisdiction, and not only found in the capacities and the organization of the legal systems.
The possible explanations of the attitudes of people towards law are to be found when considering the non-legal rules of
socialization that people abide to. Non-legal rules of socialization complement the use of laws in all societies. For example, low
interpersonal trust and low levels of tolerance can be caused by a low degree of adherence to common social mores and
manners in a certain society.
Naayeli E. Ramirez continues to do research in the Faculty of Law of University of British Columbia. Her main interests are
constitutions, comparative law, constitutional justice, law and society studies, Asian constitutional law, Latin American
constitutional law, and the organization of the judiciary.
Rethinking Human Rights through Competing Historical Narratives
Peter Rosenblum, Columbia Law School, U.S.A.
We are in the midst of a surge of writing about human rights by social scientists including, most recently, historians. The work
adds valuable nuance to the histories that are frequently mobilized by practitioners and theorists. At the same time, while
starting from a premise that human rights are important enough to merit a history, they almost inadvertently focus attention on a
profoundly unresolved question: what 'human rights' are we talking about? Is it a theoretically consistent, ideologically
informed, normative movement? Some messy combination of groups, individuals, governments and organizations? Or
something else, entirely? An imposition of the Western/Northern ideologies that deflect concern from profound systemic
inequalities? All are argued and all have legitimate roots. This talk explores the stakes involved in the different--frequently
competing--histories of human rights from the perspective of a critical participant in the organized human rights movement.
Peter Rosenblum came to Columbia from Harvard Law School, where he spent 7 years with the Human Rights Program. Before
taking a full time university position, Professor Rosenblum worked with the United Nations and with many of the major
international human rights groups, including the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and Global
Rights. Before that, he was an associate at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago. He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Africa
Division Advisory Committee, a consultant to The Carter Center, and a board member of several small NGOs. In the course of
his career he has conducted field research and worked with local human rights groups in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Much
of his recent work has focused on the confluence of natural resources and human rights around the world, with special
emphasis on Africa. In the past five years, he has undertaken research and advocacy with his students at Columbia in Chad,
Liberia, Peru, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, and Equatorial Guinea, among other countries.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Refused to Fail: Subjectivities of sexuality, resistance, rights, and justice
Robin A. Robinson, University of Massachesetts, U.S.A.
Lisbeth Salander, famously The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the fictional heroine of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, careens along a
perilous path of self-determined and self-defined sexuality, resistance, and justice, a path of responses and defenses to sexual
assaults, prolonged deprivation of liberty, witness to domestic brutality, and revenge. The subjective narrative that drives her
defenses is a web of challenges to her identity, safety, judgment, and freedom. Justine Welsh (not her real name) is a very real
girl who refuses to fail despite a massive history of abuse and neglect, dysfunctional courts and social interventions,
motherhood at 14 years old, and other challenges. She careens along a daunting course as well. Though at first look Justine
certainly differs from the fictitious Salander, they appear quite similar as she resists gendered power dynamics, to claim agency
of her body and life path. This paper considers Lisbeth Salander and Justine Welsh as case studies to examine subjectivities and
intersubjectivities of sexuality, resistance, and human rights through theoretical lenses of power, object relations, trauma, and
justice. The paper further locates the wildly popular Lisbeth in a voyeuristic and prurient public’s preoccupation with
adolescent female sexuality and power, and the social control of both.
Robin A. Robinson is Associate Professor of Sociology and Crime and Justice Studies at the University of Massachusetts
Dartmouth in the US, and Visiting Research Fellow at the Social Sciences Research Institute (Law, Politics, and Justice) at
Keele University in Staffordshire, UK. Her scholarship and activism focus on sociopolitical and policy aspects of psychological
trauma amongst women and girls, as well as the social history of girls as offenders, all toward informing just social policy and
Language, culture, and identity: Education rights of immigrant and other linguistic minority children
Rosemary C. Salomone, St. Johns University, U.S.A.
This paper explores the interconnection among language, culture, and identity as a reference point for examining the right of
immigrant and other linguistic minority students to a "meaningful" education. It specifically examines the role that the home
language plays in maintaining the child's ties to the family and community. It contests the prevailing “assimilationist” view that
family background, including language, presents a barrier to the child's educational and social mobility. It argues, in the
alternative, that through language the young child learns the cultural beliefs and practices of parents and community, in essence
what they value. While learning the majority language is essential to the child's educational success and social integration,
abandoning the home language, in the process, represents a break in those fundamental bonds, setting the child adrift on a sea of
cultural uncertainty. To support this position, the paper uses research findings from immigrant communities in the United
States demonstrating a positive connection between fluency in the home language and the transmission of cultural norms,
values, and traditions within the family, on the one hand, and student academic achievement, self esteem, educational
aspirations, and family cohesion, on the other. It presents the author's own findings from interviews with second-generation
immigrant law students who underscore the importance of language and culture as critical factors in shaping their identity and
as a means of building an intergenerational alliance within immigrant families. It suggests that allowing children to develop the
language skills they need to participate actively in their communities, in turn, produces citizens who are not only more well-
adjusted, but better able to cross over linguistic borders and bridge cultural gaps in a world that is becoming increasingly
transnational. At a time when multiculturalism is under broad attack while multilingualism is gaining support, this paper gives
due attention to the distinct challenges faced by Europe, where English as a lingua franca, EU integration, and regional
languages complicate matters, and the United States in educating increasingly diverse student populations.
Rosemary Salomone is the Kenneth Wang Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law (USA) where she teaches
courses and seminars in constitutional law, administrative law, and children and the law
The promise and paradox of sexworkers' rights
Jane Scoular, University of Strathclyde, U.K.
This paper examines both the possibilities and paradoxes inherent in the notion of sexworkers’ rights. Rights have figured
centrally in the struggles of many social movements representing sex workers. Drawing on the emancipatory tactics and
language of other social groups, rights in this context offer much promise as challenges to criminalisation. Rights discourse
offers an alternative to abolitionist control by stressing agency and stresses increased access to norms and privileges of
citizenship to those currently excluded. Noting this potential to offer justice and inclusion while also simultaneously serving to
widen meanings of what it is to be ‘human’ or a ‘rights bearing subject’ the paper also considers the paradox that rights
discourse engenders. For example, in overplaying agency and side-stepping materiality, rights may play into current neo-liberal
social and economic structures - privileging those who can best fit its modes of governance. Empirical work including my own
is beginning to suggest this ‘dark side’ of rights. In order to minimise or counter these risks, I suggest a way reframing
sexworkers’ rights, reconfiguring them in a radical democratic light, one that utilises identity and rights strategically, alongside
politics and policies for redistribution and recognition to foster a broader politics of inclusion.
Jane Scoular LLB (University of Strathclyde), LLM (University of London) joined the Law School in 1995 where she is
currently a Reader. She teaches in the areas of legal theory and legal process. Her research is concerned with the intersection
of theories of gender and law.
Witnessing, False Witnessing and the Metrics of Authenticity
Sidonie Smith, University of Michigan, USA
The motivation for this paper is the eruption of hoaxes, alleged and proven, that attends the contemporary traffic in witness
narratives. One possible response is to take the role of cultural police, seeking to prove the veracity of some narratives and the
fraudulence of others; another is to re-theorize issues central to testimonial narration. My focus here is not on whether the truth
or falsity of witness narratives can be definitively determined. Rather, I am interested in complicating the notion of the first-
person narrator in testimony and the authenticity that has come to be the guarantor of that subject position. To do so, I explore
how the authenticity of a life story unfolds through certain "metrics" and how different constructions of the narrating "I" in
witness narratives relate to the effects of authenticity a text projects as well as the relation of readers to the personal stories of
witness. After readings of a few exemplary testimonies texts, I conclude with thoughts on an alternative reading practice to the
kind of "rescue" reading often associated with testimonial narratives.
Sidonie Smith is Martha Guernsey Colby Collegiate Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan.
She has published widely in the areas of Autobiography Studies, Narrative and Human Rights, Travel Narratives and Literature
and Memory. Her most recent publications include Human Rights and Narrated Lives: The Ethics of Recognition, Moving
Lives: Twentieth-Century Women's Travel Writing and Reading Autobiography: A Guide to Interpreting Personal Narratives.
Women rights in India : Separating facts from fiction
Archana Shukla, M.K.P. (P.G.) College, India
The ingrained male feeling of superiority in India has a strong feudalistic manifestation that has primarily created an atmosphere
wherein women are deprived of all basic freedoms- starting from freedom to take birth control to nutritious food and education-
and thus are exposed to exploitation.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) signed on 10th December 1948, states that all human beings are born free and
equal in dignity and rights. But, when women rights are concerned, one had to wait till 1979- thirty one years after UDHR, for
the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discriminations against Women (CEDAW), by the UN General Assembly.
Women rights were accepted as human rights only in 1995, during Beijing Declaration. India was a signatory in all of them.
Indian Constitution was drafted almost at the same time as UDHR, and the former was strongly influenced by the latter. Thus,
gender equality was firmly established in the Indian Constitution as a principle.
No doubt that due to number of socio-cultural changes taken place in the society as a result of liberalization and globalization
the condition of women has improved and remarkable changes has been observed. Even the constitution of India has drawn
number of laws and amendments to raise the status of women, still the wide gap between the ideals and the practice is mainly
due to historical reasons and one of the main obstacles in the way of women’s liberation has been organized religion.
Keeping this harsh reality as the bases of my paper, I aim to bring forth the historical reasons responsible for this seemingly
irreparable gender gap in India and to expose the conduct of politico–administrative fraction of ruling class which has displayed
diabolical duplicity in translating its commitments into action.
Archana Shukla is an Associate Professor in Educational Management at MKP PG College, India.
Migratory movements as a cultural phenomenon: A new category of challenges for international institutions and norms of
public international law
Bogumil Terminski, University of Warsaw, Poland
Post-Cold War international system transformation is considered as one of the major causative factors of change of the image of
global migration flows in recent years. Increasing depoliticization of global mobility reveals a lot of extremely important
processes, invisible several years ago. Apart from particularly exposed in recent years economization, ecologisation,
feminization (genderisation) and even deterritorialization of contemporary migratory movements (break them far from static
timing and spatial categories) we also observed a prominently growing importance of the perception of migration as a cultural
Observed in many regions of the world increase of population moblity helps us understand both the positive side, as well as
many negative consequences of migration processes for entire communities, regions or countries. Growing social claims of
immigrants, pressures and dictates of culture and alienation on both sides (both new residents of the territory as well as
indigenous peoples within the space occupied by the immigrants) are just some of the visible consequences of the phenomenon
known in recent years as cross-cultural migration. With that phenomenon, we can also involve at least a few dozen other
problems specific to the community of developed countries (from the ghettoization of urban space to McDonaldization of
culture ending). Cultural consequences of migration are also a significant topic of many issiues of contemporary political
science discourse (recall at this point should be at least the concept of clash of civilizations by Samuel Huntington).
Cultural consequences of migration poses a serious challenge not only for the state authorities, but also many institutions of
multilateral cooperation. Particularly important is thorough debate on the reform of the institutional and normative forms of
assistance to migrants. Many of the cultural issues affecting migrants is not in fact reflect the activity of the universal and
regional institutions of cooperation. Culturally conditioned phenomena-such as increasing the scale of domestic violence in
migrant communities, or institutional forms of discrimination against migrants (educational, linguistic, or cultural) is
accompanied by a faint current level of activity of international institutions in the field attempts to change these problems.
International institutions providing assistance to migrants (such as UNHCR) today seem to be ineffective and unprepared to
take appropriate action in this direction.
Bogumil Terminski scholar at Institute for Social Sciences at the University of Warsaw and former Ph.D. candidate at The
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva (2009-2010).
Women’s rights in multicultural contexts : A comparison between Germany and France
Anja Titze, University of Wuerzburg, Germany
Europe has always been a huge cultural mosaic. Today, almost every European country itself is a multicultural entity with
various socio-cultural groups, e.g. national, or ethnic minorities and immigrant groups. Since the 1960s, countries like France
and Germany have seen a massive influx of immigrants from Africa and South Europe. Many members of these immigrant
groups feel committed to different standards and values then those of the majority.
Women’s rights may reveal the complexity of the pluri-legal reality in a very insightful way. Migrant women have often their
own cultural beliefs as they belong to distinct communities. However, when they live in Europe, they also see that women may
and do live out their rights. Thus, when migrant women begin to challenge certain cultural values of their respective
communities, conflicts may arise. Conflicts may also arise when some cultural practices are perceived as a grave violation of
women’s rights (e.g. forced marriages) or when migrant women claim recognition of their cultural identity against the state (e.g.
headscarf in the public service).
This paper explores the rights of migrant women in Germany and France. The main objective is to show which conflicts
migrant women are involved in, how these conflicts are settled by the state law and how this law has been modified. The paper
is divided into three parts. First, I focus on the empirical dimension of multiculturalism. Second, I discuss gender relations and
migration. In this part, I also identify the potential sources of normative conflicts. The third part of the paper is empirical and
turns the attention to the normative conflicts. I show that women’s rights may be and are implemented against certain cultural
practices. Taking some illustrative cases (e.g. female genital cutting, polygamy, burka), I point to the difference and similarities
in both countries.
Anja Titze is lecturer at the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) and at the Technical University of Dresden (Germany). Her
main research interests lie in the areas of human rights, transitional justice, the history of law, and legal anthropology.
Human rights and business: A clash of cultures but not as we know it
Aurora Voiculescu, Westminister University, U.K.
While in critical theory, the content, nature, universality and legal status of human rights are subject to continuous debate, the
concept of human rights has become to a significant extent the lingua franca of a globalising world. The social discourse that
best bears witness to this phenomenon is the one that links human rights and business in the context of the debate on corporate
social responsibility. While the process of the globalisation of human rights – not to be confused with an extensive realisation of
human rights – brings into focus classic issues, such as allegations of conceptual and cultural imperialism, the extent to which
the discourse of human rights pervades business and management debates marks a cultural clash of a very different nature. This
paper interrogates the outcome of this clash, which so far has failed to create a human face for global capitalism while managing
nevertheless to ‘privatise’ human rights. The paper builds on extensive research on the discourse of human rights responsibility
of business organisations, drawing on social and economic theories that support the idea of the need for a ‘cultural change’ of
business organisations and of the ‘embedding’ of the latter into a coherent culture of human rights.
Senior Lecturer in Socio-Legal Studies and Human Rights in the Department of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Law, the
University of Westminster (London) and an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford