Category Archives: Middle East and North Africa
Abstract: The longitude of the conflict in Syria does not merely cause physical and institutional, but also social and cultural destruction. Over the course of the conflict, the religious and ethnic affiliations of Syrians have become crucial in the process of self-identification. This change significantly contributed to the fragility of the Syrian collective identity. Notions of identity and categorization on the one hand, Ibn Khaldun’s al-assabiya on the other, help explain the affiliation based groupings and the weakening of comprehensive self-identification.
Syria has long been composed of diverse ethno-religious societal fabric. Throughout the Syrian history, different ethnic, religious and tribal groups coexisted on its territories. Nevertheless, the homogeneity has not been dominating the relationships of these various groups constantly. The current Syrian crisis once again illustrated that different ethno-religious groups within the Syrian society are not – if we consider that they were – unified multicultural mosaic; instead, for the time being, they raise within-group solidarity and may become a major threat to the already shaky collective identity. (more…)
A key challenge faced by those engaged in international human rights policy and practice is adopting an effective framework for protecting and promoting human rights around the world in a way that preserves and articulates their universal nature, while at the same time respecting local values and practices.
One way to approach this challenge is to examine values, norms, customs and practices in non-Western cultures which can act as ‘receptors’ for human rights principles and practice. A new Dutch collaborative research project adopts just such an approach (and is thus called the ‘Receptor Approach’). It brings together experts from around the world and from a variety of disciplines – law, anthropology, sociology, political science, international relations and philosophy among others. (more…)