Discussing "human rights" : an anthropological exposition on "human rights" discourse
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This thesis examines how the displaced Sudanese in Egypt, Kenya, and the United Kingdom discuss the topic of "Human Rights". Whereas many studies on "Human Rights" are primarily concerned with the opinions of outsiders, an attempt is made here to provide an alternative perspective in that the focus of this dissertation is on how the displaced Sudanese, themselves, discuss "Human Rights" in view of their situation as exiles. The thesis begins by tracing the historical evolution of the 'Western' concept of "Human Rights" and investigating the historical relationship between Anthropology and "Human Rights". Attention is paid to the role of the doctrine of "cultural relativism" in the discipline of Anthropology. After briefly looking at Sudan's geographical and social makeup, I explain the difficulties I encountered as an independent scholar conducting research on "Human Rights" and Sudan. This is followed by descriptions of the fieldwork locations. What comes next is the heart and soul of the thesis. After giving brief descriptions of the interviewees, 1 analyse how the interviews were conducted and explain how the issue of "Politics" dominated practically every discussion with the interviewees. Next, excerpts from nineteen interviews are presented for the reader to get acquainted with the conversations between the Interviewees and myself. Finally, an examination is made of how "Human Rights" is employed as a manipulative device (or tool) by the interviewees. This is essentially the crux of the study. The chief aim of the thesis is to present various ways the notion of "Human Rights" can be (and is) interpreted and utilised by the displaced Sudanese in the context of their own circumstances as exiles.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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