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Published on Tuesday, May 03, 2005



Cultural and minority rights

In a global justice perspective

Oxford, June 3-4, 2005

As far as rights are concerned, cultural minorities are raising a series of problems, not all of which are relevant to applied global justice. Our first concern is to avoid introducing questions which are only related to local political discussions. Multiculturalism as such is therefore not a sufficient definition of the range of questions we would like to address. What is at stake here is whether a concern for global justice can (or cannot) bring us (citizens, states, NGOs, etc.) to favour (or refuse) the adoption of rights based on minority cultures, to reflect on the nature of those rights (individual or collective?), and more generally, on the relevance of culture to the problematic of rights.

A main divide can therefore be envisaged, which has, on the one side, rights based on the will to achieve a goal, i.e. protect "cultural diversity", and on the other side, rights claiming juridical or political "recognition" on behalf of culture. Before considering those approaches separately, it might be interesting to address them together, asking whether there is really a divide between them, or if they are complementary. Is it right, for example, to speak of a tension between a juridical approach to cultures in terms of protection or conservation, and a political approach in terms of claims for specific rights, struggle for recognition, and/or aspiration to autonomy?

If we now turn to the "protectionist" approach, we find the notion of "cultural diversity", which is central, for example, to the Universal Unesco Declaration of 2d November 2001, which aims at protecting "cultures" all over the world. Some papers shall focus on the implicit philosophy of this Declaration, and its juridical and political implications. A further question (maybe to be answered by an anthropologist) shall also be to know on what basis this protection can best be conceived (what definition of culture? Why is cultural diversity important? etc.) and to what extent it is liable, thanks to such rights, to resist the progressive destruction of cultural diversity. A further point shall be to envisage the arguments justifying (or refusing) protectionist measures in favour of cultural productions (e.g. films, works of art, etc.).

On the political side, we have the claims of cultural minorities, to conquer either more individual rights (or a better implementation of existing rights, e.g. the case of the Roma), or more autonomy within a state they are part of (e.g., the Spanish case), or a complete autonomy by becoming a state. Is it legitimate to support those claims in the name of global justice? Should international community, in the name of Global justice, support juridical and political claims based on culture, or should it be considered that "cultural" claims are not a proper way to advance global justice?

Papers shall be concerned by the global justice dimension of cultural claims, and shall take into account, as much as possible, cases, and juridical and political documents.

Invited speakers: Oliviero Angeli (Saarbrücken University), Antonella Capelle-Pogacean (CERI, Sciences Po, Paris), Richard Caplan (Linacre College, Oxford), Francis Cheneval (Zürich University), Francisco Collom-González (CSIC, Madrid),

Luc Foisneau (Maison française, Oxford), Ashild Kolas (PRIO, Oslo), Adam Kuper (Brunel University), Roland van Loosbroek (Tilburg University), Joseph Marko (Graz University), Ferran Requejo (Barcelone University), Tom Sorell (Essex University).

The conference shall be held at the Maison française between 9.30 am and 6 pm on Friday and Saturday 3 and 4 June 2005. It is being organised by the European Training Network on Applied global justice.

Some useful links:

-Universal Declaration of Human Rights


-International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


-UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity


-OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities


-UNDP Roma website (interesting report)


-European convention on national minorities



Dr. Luc Foisneau

Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Maison française/

University of Oxford, Department of Politics and International Relations




  • Oxford, Britain


  • Friday, June 03, 2005


  • Maison Française d'Oxford
    courriel : maison [at] herald [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk

Information source

  • Maison Française d'Oxford
    courriel : maison [at] herald [dot] ox [dot] ac [dot] uk


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Cultural and minority rights », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, May 03, 2005, https://doi.org/10.58079/9ur

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