Om Constructing Human Rights in the Age of
Both human rights and globalization are powerful ideas and processes, capable of transforming the world in profound ways. Notwithstanding their universal claims, however, the processes are constructed, and they draw their power from the specific cultural and political contexts in which they are constructed. Far from bringing about a harmonious cosmopolitan order, they have stimulated conflict and opposition. In the context of globalization, as the idea of human rights has become universal, its meaning has become one more terrain of struggle among groups with their own interests and goals. Part I of this volume looks at political and cultural struggles to control the human rights regime -- that is, the power to construct the universal claims that will prevail in a territory -- with respect to property, the state, the environment, and women. Part II examines the dynamics and counterdynamics of transnational networks in their interactions with local actors in Iran, China, and Hong Kong. Part III looks at the prospects for fruitful human rights dialogiue between competing universalisms that by definition are intolerant of conradiction and averse to compromise.