The World as it is and the world as it wants to be #HumanRights

This Thursday, Allegra TV gives you a recent talk by Mark Goodale held at the University of Copenhagen on May 7, 2015This talk uses insights from the anthropology of human rights to reflect more generally on current debates in Denmark and more widely about the possibilities for intercultural moral understanding. The talk will draw from the ethnography of human rights in order to develop a framework of inter- and transcultural engagement that samples theoretically from Erich Fromm’s argument for normative humanism, Isaiah Berlin’s emphasis on a non-relativist form of pluralism, and James Scott’s classic study of the relationship between resistance and power. The goal is to explore how the work of anthropologists—in dialogue, as always, with a diverse mix of theorists and case studies—can point the way to what Fromm called a more “sane society.”

We are very pleased to feature this talk in two different formats: a video and a related paper.

“And it was during this exact moment that we anthropologists started to take an interest in the spreading influence of human rights and its consequences. This was largely unintentional or serendipitous. In my case, I had gone to Bolivia in 1998 in order to conduct ethnographic fieldwork on conflict resolution among indigenous villages in the Andean highlands. I wasn’t thinking of human rights at all, at least not as a key concept for anthropological research. When I think back to that period, I must blush with a certain embarrassment. I was the stereotype of the naïve anthropologist—Indiana Jones hat, filled with a spirit of adventure, but most of all, motivated by the belief that I was on the verge of a very important discovery. In my case, I was convinced that I would find the secret to peaceful relations among people out there among the quinoa fields at 4000 meters. So I spent the next year walking over 1000 kilometers from village to village, asking intrusive questions, studying archives where I could find them, and observing dispute processes when I was permitted to. ”

Read the accompanying paper at our ISSUU page!

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