Anthropology, Human Rights, and Legal Knowledge: Culture in the Iron Cage:
In this article, I draw on ethnography in the particular zone of engagement between anthropologists, on the one hand, and human rights lawyers who are skeptical of the human rights regime, on the other hand. I argue that many of the problems anthropologists encounter with the appropriation and marginalization of anthropology's analytical tools can be understood in terms of the legal character of human rights. In particular, discursive engagement between anthropology and human rights is animated by the pervasive instrumentalism of legal knowledge. I contend that both anthropologists who seek to describe the culture of human rights and lawyers who critically engage the human rights regime share a common problemthat of the "iron cage" of legal instrumentalism. I conclude that an ethnographic method reconfigured as a matter of what I term circling backas opposed to cultural descriptionoffers a respite from the hegemony of legal instrumentalism.
Access to this content is restricted.
- If you are a AAA member please login to obtain full-text access.
- If you are not a AAA member you can find out more information and join here https://avectra.aaanet.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=verify.
- If you are a library patron of an academic institution, and are experiencing an access issue please contact your library administrator for assistance.
- If you would like to purchase online access to this single article please locate the article on Wiley Online Library or contact a Wiley-Blackwell customer service representative at email@example.com.