“Culturally-Oriented” Approach To Human Rights and Social Justice

“Culturally-Oriented” Approach To Human Rights and Social Justice

1. Multiple authors (notably Lynn Hunt (in W2-W3), Leanne Simpson (W11) and Kate Nash (W12))
discuss the importance of taking a “culturally-oriented” approach to human rights and social
justice. Throughout the term, in multiple weeks, we have touched on the importance looking at
the “practical” foundations of human rights (e.g. Koh, Merry, and in Keck & Sikkink’s discussion
of TANs). This more “grounded” approach was also favoured by Calhoun.

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Drawing on Hunt and Nash in particular (but on any others from the course!) discuss the value (or otherwise) of this
“cultural” or “practical” approach. What are its key strengths and weaknesses?

2. A central theme throughout the course had been to question the relative importance of “law”
(and specifically international law) in the more general project of achieving human rights and social justice goals and projects. What roles does law play and what roles ought “it” play?
This question is explicitly discussed by Donnelly, Koh, and Nash. Drawing on these authors specifically (though you can use others from the course as well) discuss the importance of using law in projects of human rights and social justice. Is law necessary as Donnelly suggests? Does
the value of law in such projects depend mainly on how we understand the way law works in the
first place (as Nash and Koh both highlight)?


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