Normative Universalism

Read Complete Research Material


Are Human Rights universal or culturally relative? A Context of Normative Universalism

Are Human Rights universal or culturally relative? A Context of Normative Universalism

Universalism: HR apply regardless of culture, religious diversity, history. All moral values are the same at all times in all phases. cultural relativism - HR are culturally and historically specific. All moral values determined by culture. Normative - how things should be.

Accounts of the debate over the utility of universality within political theory have generally proceeded through delineating the oppositional relationship of liberal and communitarian theory. Liberalism is cast as adhering to the value of universality, in its insistence on the necessity for neutral universal norms derived by abstracting people from their particular situation. Communitarianism disputes liberalism's elevation of abstract individualism. Instead, it emphasizes the priority of community over individuality and conceives of normative principles as embedded in communal practices. Rather than abstracting people from their social context in order to distill universally applicable normative principles, communitarianism suggests that such values derive from localized social and cultural traditions.

The liberal/communitarian opposition does not exhaust the range of debate over universality. Rather, it overlaps with numerous other contests over the necessity of universality in political theory. The notion of universal personhood has been strongly challenged by feminism, which argues that the characteristics of this abstract man are, rather than universally shared, in fact valorized attributes of masculinity—rational, unencumbered, self-knowing—against which femininity has been defined and excluded. Further, universal norms have been challenged by postcolonial critics, who discern in them an insidious cultural imperialism. Such critics argue that those—usually privileged, Western voices—who have enumerated universal values have done so by generalizing their own values across many incommensurable moral frameworks. Enlightenment notions of truth, justice, and equality are criticized for their reliance on a framework deeply imbricated with Western society, a framework ...
Related Ads