Cultural Rights in International Law and Discourse

Contemporary Challenges and Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Challenging questions arise in the effort to adequately protect the cultural rights of individuals and communities worldwide, not the least of which are questions concerning the very understanding of ‘culture’. In Cultural Rights in International Law and Discourse: Contemporary Challenges and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Pok Yin S. Chow offers an account of the present-day challenges to the articulation and implementation of cultural rights in international law. Through examining how ‘culture’ is conceptualised in different stages of contemporary anthropology, the book explores how these understandings of ‘culture’ enable us to more accurately put issues of cultural rights into perspective. The book attempts to provide analytical exits to existing conundrums and dilemmas concerning the protections of culture, cultural heritage and cultural identity.

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Receiving his PhD from the University of Nottingham, CHOW Pok Yin Stephenson, is currently an Assistant Professor at the City University of Hong Kong. He is a member of the Society of Legal Scholars and the Asian Society of International Law. Qualified as a New York State Attorney, he also served as an executive committee member of the American Bar Association, Section of International Law, Hong Kong Chapter in 2015. Chow's research interest includes public international law, international human rights law, and the dynamics of culture and international law. His recent publications include: Culture as Collective Memories: An Emerging Concept of Culture in International Law and Discourse on Cultural Rights and Reservations as Unilateral Acts? Examining the International Law Commission’s Approach to Reservations published respectively in Human Rights Law Review (Oxford University Press) and the International & Comparative Law Quarterly (Cambridge University Press).
List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

1 Introduction: Cultural Rights—A Radical Hope?
 1.1 Clarifications of Scope and Approach
  1.1.1 The Distinction between Minority Rights and Cultural Rights
  1.1.2 The Relationship between Cultural Rights and Other Freedoms
  1.1.3 The Distinction between Cultural Rights and the Protection of Culture
  1.1.4 Culture, Anthropology and Human Rights
  1.1.5 On Defining Culture

2 Culture and Anthropology
 2.1 Introduction
 2.2 Sameness and Difference
  2.2.1 Culture, Behaviour and Thought
 2.3 Forms of Abstraction and Forms of Explanation
  2.3.1 Culture as Functional
 2.4 Culture and the Study of Meanings
  2.4.1 Interpreting Culture
  2.4.2 Culture and Social Processes
 2.5 Meanings and Practice: Contemporary Perspectives
  2.5.1 Practice and the Habitus
  2.5.2 The Habitus and the Reproduction of Power
  2.5.3 Heritage, Power and Practice
 2.6 Discourse and Identity: The Narrativisation of the Self
  2.6.1 Identity and Resistance: Gender
 2.7 Conclusions

3 Cultural Rights in the Work of the Treaty Bodies
 3.1 Introduction
 3.2 The un Human Rights Treaty Bodies
  3.2.1 The Working Methods of the un Human Rights Treaty Bodies
  3.2.2 The Significance of the Work of the Treaty Bodies
 3.3 Cultural Rights in the Work of the Treaty Bodies
  3.3.1 Cultural Rights and the cescr
  3.3.2 General Principles Governing Article 15 of the icescr
  3.3.3 Definitions of Culture and Derived Obligations under Article 15 of the icescr
  3.3.4 Culture as High and Popular Culture
  3.3.5 Culture as a Way of Life
  3.3.6 Cultural Identity
  3.3.7 Cultural Diversity
  3.3.8 The Survival of Culture
  3.3.9 Three Dimensions of Culture
 3.4 Insights from Anthropology into the Work of the Treaty Bodies
  3.4.1 The Limits of Cultural Rights
  3.4.2 Implications of Contemporary Anthropology
  3.4.3 Other Uses of ‘culture’
 3.5 Conclusions

4 Cultural Rights and the Human Rights Treaty Bodies: The Limitations on Cultural Rights
 4.1 Introduction
 4.2 The Legal Framework around the Limitations on Cultural Rights
  4.2.1 Gender Discrimination and Culture
 4.3 ‘Culture’ in the Context of Limitations
  4.3.1 Consequences of Conflating Culture with Values, Beliefs and Stereotypical Roles
  4.3.2 Understanding the Experiences of Women through the Concepts of Identity and Subjectivity: Anthropological Perspectives
 4.4 Conclusions

5 Conclusions: Cultural Rights and Insights from Anthropology
 5.1 Introduction
 5.2 Theories of Culture in Anthropology: From Linear Evolutionism to Culture as a System of Narratives and Discourses
 5.3 The Multiple Dimensions of ‘culture’ in the Context of Cultural Rights: From Arts and Institutions to Process and Symbols
  5.3.1 The Transfigurability of Culture and Its Jurisprudential Implications
 5.4 Limitations on Cultural Rights: Notions of Choice and Identity
 5.5 Further Implications: Beyond Legal Narratives

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