Title: The right to culture

Authors: Arib Ahmad Ansari

Addresses: Jawaharlal Nehru University, Room No. 238, Kaveri Hostel, New Delhi, 110067, India

Abstract: The issue of cultural belonging confronts us because cultural minorities, whether immigrants or conquered minorities, despite having the civic, political and social rights of citizenship, feel harmed if the state does not recognise their particular cultural identity and does not make certain provisions or exemptions in or from the operation of general laws on this basis. This paper tries to locate the political claims grounded in culture within a liberal-democratic political setup. It attempts to address three questions. First, how did a 'right to culture' come into being? Second, what is the subject matter of a 'right to culture'? This includes an enquiry into the nature of cultural rights. And lastly, how viable is the multicultural approach towards ensuring a meaningful co-existence of different cultural communities within the larger political community? A bigger role for the state to preserve and protect minority cultures is argued for, considering that there is a positive dimension to cultural rights due to which such rights cannot be realised without some involvement of the state.

Keywords: right to culture; positive rights; obligations; universalism; relativism; self-determination; multiculturalism; essentialism; anti-essentialism; cultural identity; cultural community; group rights; minority rights; human rights; liberal democracy; trust; dialogue; cultural belonging; cultural minorities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRCS.2013.057305

International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, 2013 Vol.1 No.4, pp.365 - 380

Received: 14 Jan 2013
Accepted: 21 Jan 2013

Published online: 22 Oct 2013 *

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