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Changes in the international system and the right to choose - Essay Example

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As the world becomes more integrated culturally, economically and politically the differences between cultural identities become contentious. Questions begin to be asked such as whose way is the right way Who has the power to transform the international system What are the challenges for nations states in the international system Do people want change and should they be given the right to choose Whose values are at the forefront of human rights
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Changes in the international system and the right to choose

Download file to see previous pages... However there are groups and cultures that do not feel this way and do not adhere to these norms contesting that human rights agendas reflect western civilization.
Women's rights are surrounded by much debate when it comes to cultural values and norms. A historical cultural tradition in some African countries has been the practice of female circumcision. When women were asked why they practiced this they said because it had always been done, most claimed because it is this act that makes them a woman and that without the act being performed on them they would not be a complete woman, this meant that they may not be desirable for marriage in later life. If this practice was stopped females would have to redefine themselves within their community and culture. On the one hand the introduction of a liberal rights culture in defense of gender-based violence into these communities would greatly challenge cultural identity and their social framework, however on the other hand just because it has always been done this way does not mean that women want it this way so highlights conflicts within cultures as well as between them. Having a women's rights culture enables women to have some freedom of choice and choose which set of values and norms they wish to accept.

So contestation exists within cultures on the grounds of human rights when it comes to women's rights and it exists not only in developing nations. The Christian right in the US are pro-life and lobby vehemently to state and federal government opposing women's rights to choose, yet the protestors live in one of the most liberal nations in the globe. It must also not be forgotten that the US only abolished segregation in 1965 and that from 1876 until abolition the Jim Crow Laws mandated a 'separate but equal' status for black Americans ("Jim Crow laws" 2007). Another example of a contestation is reformist Muslims as whilst they wish to incorporate liberal rights including equality for all individuals through reinterpreting the Quran the holy texts state that men and women are not equal (Zubaida, 2004). The Shari'a, Islamic law, is fundamental to all Muslims but for reformists the problems lie with the historical context within which its religious laws are written. The issue that many Muslims have is that liberal rights cultures are secularized and therefore implicate their cultural identity because of the fundamental need of Islam to live by the Shari'a. Global rights, in this case women's rights, only become powerful at the local level, when groups and individuals from one particular cultural identity wish to change their way of lives.

The liberal model of the international system is concerned with the individual who seek to serve their own self interest. Moravcsik argues that in the international system the quest for self interest is competitive therefore there will be some who are more dominant than others (Brown, 2004). Consequently if states are similar in their values and norms the world will have less tension than if divided on ideals.

For Moravcsik the international system has the ability to change as state behaviour reflects what individual's ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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