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Human Rights and Cultural Diversity

Core Issues and Cases

Andrew Fagan

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A student guide to reconciling human rights with cultural difference, using political philosophy and real-life case studies

How can universal human rights be reconciled with respect for wide cultural differences? This textbook introduces the core issues for students and addresses them through an interdisciplinary analysis of key case studies. Throughout the book, an alternative philosophical framework is offered as a model through which universalism and difference can be reconciled into a single global vision.

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  1. A Defensible Universalism
  2. Culture and Transcending Relativism
  3. A Right to Cultural Identity
  4. The Rights of Women – Patriarchy, Harm and Empowerment
  5. The Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities
  6. The Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  7. Religion and Human Rights
  8. Working On a Dream?


About the Author

Andrew Fagan is Director of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Essex. He is an internationally renowned human rights scholar.


This is a lucid introduction into the ways that philosophers, political theorists and practitioners have grappled with the tensions between two key values of our time. It also offers a persuasive argument that respect for human rights and for cultural diversity can be reconciled.

- Jane K. Cowan, University of Sussex

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