Human Rights and Eurocentrism: An Analysis from the Decolonial Studies Perspective

By Fernanda Bragato.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The justification of human rights has been grounded in a dominant discourse where the Western view is predominant. According to this discourse, the genesis and development of the human rights idea result from either English, French and American political struggles or European liberal thought. In so doing, classical liberalism and its idea of individual liberty and equality—incorporated into modern declarations of rights—are the core of human rights. The main feature of this tradition is the empowerment of individuals through the granting of rights derived from the exercise of unconditional free will. The production of knowledge in the field of human rights echoes a logic that can be called Eurocentric. As a consequence, human rights are conventionally claimed as an offspring of culture and political effort in the West, which implies that these rights has little or nothing to do with history and with the rationality of non-Western peoples. Despite of this discourse, other histories and rationalities of human rights remain invisible reinforcing unilateral and narrow views about them. Drawing from the decolonial studies perspective, this paper discusses the failures and shortcomings of the dominant discourse about the foundations of the dominant discourse of human rights.

Keywords: Contemporary Human Rights, Eurocentrism, Decolonial Studies, Dominant Discourse

Global Studies Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.49-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 277.261KB).

Dra. Fernanda Bragato

Adjunt Professor, Law Graduate Programme, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Graduation in Law from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (2002); Master in Law from Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (2005); PhD in Law from Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (2009). Professor at Law Graduate Programme at Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos since 2010. Post-doctoral fellow at School of Law of Birkbeck College of University of London (January to july of 2012). Publications on human rights issues: Articles in Scientific Journals: 10 Books Published: 1 Book Chapters Published: 7 Address to my CV: http://lattes.cnpq.br/5062531048277581

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