chapter  9
‘Community in the East’: towards a new human rights paradigm
Towards a new human rights paradigm Anthony Woodiwiss
Pages 21

The discourse of ‘Asian Values’ has most often been seen as a threat to that of human rights, by proponents as well as opponents. I do not agree with this perception. On the contrary, it seems to me that, when understood and responded to not politically but social scientifically and with an eye for unintended consequences, the appearance of ‘Asian Values’ has provided a very necessary challenge to a version of human rights discourse that, had it become hegemonic, would have represented a very considerable threat to the possibility of a truly cosmopolitan world order; that is, a world order within which values in addition to those associated with individualism and liberalism, namely various kinds of communitarianism, could continue to command respect and provide guides for both individual and social development.1