In: Perspektiven der Aufklärung
Author: Benjamin Gregg

Abstract

I address major challenges to dealing with contentious public issues by replacing thick norms with thin ones: (1) Secularism, individual liberty, equal rights, and rule of law lend themselves to politics more thin than thick; does this condemn the approach to its own kind of thickness? (2) If the unit of analysis is the individual, and if the individual’s primary project is his or her liberty, must this approach threaten the communitarian self-understandings of some groups? (3) Does it fundamentalize political liberalism? (4) What about addressees likely to reject thin norms, such as persons guided by an otherworldly authority or an authoritarian ideology? (5) Is this approach defeated where territorialized membership rights clash with thin norms, for example in the European Union: a political and economic community internally somewhat thin yet externally thick?

In: Comparative Sociology
Author: Benjamin Gregg

Abstract

No one, neither speculative philosopher nor empirical anthropologist, has ever shown human rights to be anything other than a culturally particular social construction. If human rights are not natural, divine, or metaphysical, then they can only be a social construction of particular cultures. If so, then many cultures may justifiably reject them as culturally foreign and hence without local normative validity. In response to this conclusion I develop a cognitive approach to any local culture ‐ a cognitive approach in distinction to a normative one. It allows for advancing human rights as rights internal to any given community’s culture. Human rights can be advanced internally by means of “cognitive re-framing,” a notion I develop out of Erving Goffman’s theory of frame analysis. I deploy it in two examples: female genital mutilation in Africa and child prostitution in Asia.

In: Comparative Sociology
Author: Benjamin Gregg

Abstract

Using Islam as an example, I show how interpreters can develop human rights within their own culture even as they draw on extra-local ideas and practices. They can do so despite points of significant conflict between the local culture and that of human rights, in ways that need to resonate with the local culture yet also challenge it. Translators can do the work they do because they have the “dual consciousness” of outside intermediaries and local participants.

In: Comparative Sociology
Author: Benjamin Gregg

Abstract

I introduce the five articles in this special issue of Comparative Sociology as each applies the theory of enlightened localism. First I outline the theory in question and then highlight those aspects that each of the authors deploys, the criticisms each levels at it, and the suggestions each offers toward its improvement. Lea Ypi applies the theory to human rights in a way that might reconcile universal norms with the need for individual motivation that can only be local. Jonathan White uses the theory to develop a conception of the European Union that would preserve rather than, as now, repress the partisan politicking at the core of democracy. Junmin Wang finds the theory helpful in analyzing the unintended decentralization of political power in China as a consequence of recent economic reforms. Ko Hasegawa seeks an enlightened localist solution to the problematic integration of a minority population into mainstream Japanese society. Manuel Ahedo enlists the theory in combating ghettoized schooling all too typical for immigrant children in Europe with ideas for integrating the children of immigrants with those of long-established residents. I conclude by listing some of the questions raised by the articles and to be addressed by future research ‐ concerns that might move an enlightened localist approach forward.

In: Comparative Sociology
Was können wir heute noch von den Denkern der Aufklärung lernen? Wie hat diese Epoche die Welt verändert? Perspektiven der Aufklärung fragt nach der Aktualität und der Reaktualisierung eines zeitgenössischen Denkens der Aufklärung.
Die Epoche der Aufklärung bildete den Ursprung für eine Reihe von emanzipatorischen Projekten, die nicht nur das Zusammenleben der Menschen untereinander betrafen, sondern auf entscheidende Weise auch das Verhältnis des Menschen zu seiner Umwelt prägten.
Der Band feiert nicht die Aufklärung, sondern nimmt eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme vor, anhand derer die Vielfältigkeit und Ambivalenz der Aufklärung deutlich wird.
Aufklärung ist dabei radikal historisierend zu denken: permanente Aufklärung als fortlaufendes Projekt der Gegenwartsgesellschaft.