Introduction: Universal Human Rights versus Cultural Relativism
The idea of universal human rights was perhaps the most contentious concept of the twentieth century. Originally presented as a response to the atrocities of the past and an attempt to stifle the potential ills of the future, the concept has been under heated assault by adherents to the concept of “cultural relativism.” Although this concept, too, has been under fire in recent years by cultural feminists, it was sanctioned by the American Anthropological Association in 1947 and continues to influence the work of social scientists and specifically anthropologists (Nagengast & Turner, 1997, p. 270).
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