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Shadi Mokhtari, Human rights as mockery of morality, manifesting morality, and moral maze

Shadi MokhtariIn a new article in the Journal of Human Rights, SIS Professor Shadi Mokhtari develops and applies a typology of marginalized non-Western populations’ experiences of and engagements with human rights, drawing from Egyptian and broader Middle Eastern experiences of human rights over the last three decades. The experiences laid out are of human rights as (1) mockery of morality encompassing practice flying in the face of human rights’ emancipatory promise, (2) manifesting morality encompassing practice embodying human rights’ emancipatory promise, and (3) moral maze, the morally fractured space in between where human rights politics increasingly play out.

Through the typology and its application, she argues that popular dispositions toward, and meanings accorded to human rights in marginalized contexts are varied, complex, and stem not just from popular evaluations of the human right framework’s content (the values, moral claims, or rhetorical promise), but also from these populations’ experiences of, judgements on, and emotional reactions to the morality of the practice of human rights unfolding around them.

The research presented demonstrates that contrary to assumptions underlying both mainstream and critical scholarship, the content of human rights can be highly resonant to marginalized non-Western populations, yet they may choose to keep a distance from the framework because in its practice, is not persuasive to them.

Read the full article here.