Is culture a "universal" right? : three case studies of norm negotiation within international and transnational networks
Thompson, Sarah Anne-Elizabeth.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. Is culture a "universal" right? This thesis explores how international networks, consisting primarily of state actors, share understandings of "universal" cultural rights that differ from transnational networks, consisting primarily of civil society and non-state actors. Specifically, this thesis examines how different types of global networks tend to negotiate norms of "universal" cultural rights that privilege either states or people.; Through a structured, focused comparison of UNESCO, an international network, and the Pimicikimak Cree Nation and the Representative Council of Black Associations, two civil society groups that have hooked into transnational networks, this thesis argues that norms of "universal" cultural rights will privilege either states or people, depending on the network that negotiates the norm. International networks tend to negotiate pluralist norms, which privilege the cultural rights of states. Transnational networks tend to negotiate solidarist norms, which privilege the cultural rights of people; In making this argument, this thesis offers a new way of thinking about universalism; namely, that even while negotiations of norms regarding "universal" cultural rights lead to the temporary privileging of either states or people, the notion and rhetoric of universalism are still useful tools that empower both states and people to fight for rights vis-à-vis greater powers within international society. Alternatively, the notion and rhetoric of universalism can also be used as a weapon against weaker people or states. As such, it is always important to examine not only the language that actors evoke when negotiating norms or making claims to "universal" cultural rights, but also the power relations among actors that converge around this beautiful but ideological language.
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