chapter  5
16 Pages

Global governance, human rights and the ‘problem’ of culture


The ‘cultural turn’ in the social sciences generally, and in the discipline of International Relations (IR) in particular, has had a significant impact on normative theory over the last decade or so. In many political debates, ‘culture’ certainly seems to have replaced ‘ideology’ (as generally understood in right/ left terms) as a key normative focus. The reasons for this are various, but in IR it is at least partly related to the end of the Cold War. As one leading human rights commentator has said, the post-Cold War period has seen a significant renewal of interest in the merits of universal versus relative value systems and the role of culture in their detection and interpretation.2