Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice

Paperback | December 15, 2005

bySally Engle Merry

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Human rights law and the legal protection of women from violence are still fairly new concepts. As a result, substantial discrepancies exist between what is decided in the halls of the United Nations and what women experience on a daily basis in their communities. Human Rights and Gender Violence is an ambitious study that investigates the tensions between global law and local justice.

As an observer of UN diplomatic negotiations as well as the workings of grassroots feminist organizations in several countries, Sally Engle Merry offers an insider's perspective on how human rights law holds authorities accountable for the protection of citizens even while reinforcing and expanding state power. Providing legal and anthropological perspectives, Merry contends that human rights law must be framed in local terms to be accepted and effective in altering existing social hierarchies. Gender violence in particular, she argues, is rooted in deep cultural and religious beliefs, so change is often vehemently resisted by the communities perpetrating the acts of aggression.

A much-needed exploration of how local cultures appropriate and enact international human rights law, this book will be of enormous value to students of gender studies and anthropology alike.

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From the Publisher

Human rights law and the legal protection of women from violence are still fairly new concepts. As a result, substantial discrepancies exist between what is decided in the halls of the United Nations and what women experience on a daily basis in their communities. Human Rights and Gender Violence is an ambitious study that investigates...

From the Jacket

Despite the best efforts of the United Nations and advances in human rights law, violence against women across the globe is still perpetuated in the gap between legal principle and local practices. Human Rights and Gender Violence investigates the tensions between global law and local justice from an insider’s perspective. As an observ...

Sally Engle Merry is professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Law and Society at New York University. She is the author of several books, including Colonizing Hawai‘i: The Cultural Process of Law and Getting Justice and Getting Even, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:December 15, 2005Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226520749

ISBN - 13:9780226520742

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Introduction: Culture and Transnationalism
2. Creating Human Rights
3. Gender Violence and the CEDAW Process
4. Disjunctures between Global Law and Local Justice
5. Legal Transplants and Cultural Translation: Making Human Rights in the Vernacular
6. Localizing Human Rights and Rights Consciousness
7. Conclusions
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

"A valuable contribution to our thinking about international human rights, both because it examines in empirical detail the interaction between the transnational culture of human rights and alternative cultural discourses in specific contexts and because it acts as a corrective to oversimplified assumptions about the meaning of international human rights and the meaning of culture."