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

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University of Chicago Press, Jul 27, 2009 - Social Science - 264 pages
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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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Culture and Transnationalism
CHAPTER TWO Creating Human Rights
CHAPTER THREE Gender Violence and the CEDAW Process
CHAPTER FOUR Disjunctures between Global Law and Local Justice
Making Human Rights in the Vernacular
CHAPTER SIX Localizing Human Rights and Rights Consciousness

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About the author (2009)

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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