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Re-Imagining International Human Rights Education in Our Time: Beyond Three Constitutive Orthodoxies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2004


This article seeks to show that both the conceptualization and practice of international human rights education within the mainstream human rights community has been shaped and framed, with mostly negative consequences, by at least three constitutive orthodoxies: a heaven-hell binary distinction between an all but “perfect” West and an all but “hellish” Third World; a consequent unidirectional traffic of human rights teaching from the West to the rest; and a reliance on the abolitionist paradigm of human rights education. It starts by mapping these orthodoxies, and proceeds thereafter to challenge them as fundamentally problematic and as capable of frustrating the project of progressive human rights education. The article ends by offering an insight into the ways in which international human rights education might be re-imagined if it is to have a better chance of achieving its ordinarily laudable mission.

© 2001 Kluwer Law International

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