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The Transforming Power of Cultural Rights
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Book description

Cultural rights promote cultural and scientific creativity. Transformative and empowering, they also enable the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, thereby working as atrocity prevention tools. The Transforming Power of Cultural Rights argues that this gives these rights a central role to play in promoting the full human personality and in realizing all other human rights. Looking at the work of the UN Special Rapporteurs in the field of cultural rights as well as UNESCO's efforts, Helle Porsdam addresses the question of how a universal human rights agenda can include a dialogue that recognizes the importance of cultural diversity without sliding into cultural relativism. She argues that cultural rights offer a useful international arena and discourse in which to explain and negotiate cultural meanings when controversies arise. This places them at the center of human rights - and at the center of law and humanities.


‘This book is original in its focus, current in its concerns, provocative in some of its approaches and at the same time shows very in-depth knowledge of the cultural, philosophical and legal aspects needed to understand the cultural rights and their dilemmas. Professor Helle Porsdam has written the work which we should all know in order to continue participating in the debate on cultural rights.'

Mikel Mancisidor - Independent expert member of the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (2013–20)

‘Porsdam has succeeded in adding an innovative perspective to the debate on cultural rights. Connecting the vocabularies of human rights, law and humanities, she convincingly shows that cultural rights can provide a global discourse to address issues of identity, diversity, solidarity and inclusion. She ends her book with some pertinent issues for further study, which should encourage us all to tackle these, not in isolation, but in holistic and concerted ways.'

Yvonne Donders - University of Amsterdam

‘Exploring the interconnection between cultural rights, law and the humanities, this book is an important milestone in overcoming the paucity of serious intellectual work on cultural rights. Addressing a wide array of issues, from television to education, from museums and literature to scientific pursuit, copyright and intellectual property, Porsdam shows how vital cultural rights are for better understanding and praxis in this complicated world of ours.'

Farida Shaheed - former United Nations Special Rapporteur for cultural rights, Executive Director of Shirkat Gah, Women's Resource Centre in Pakistan

'An original and exciting approach for making understood the central place of cultural rights. Relying on TV shows, novels and other literary works, Porsdam, also a strong human rights analyst, convinces us that contemporary controversial issues can and should be addressed through the lens of cultural rights.'

Mylène Bidault - Vice President of the Observatory of Diversity and Cultural Rights, Switzerland

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