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Conceptualising Minority Rights

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  • Minority Rights
  • Liberalism
  • Communitarianism
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


Conceptualising minority rights Helene Pristed, SPIRIT Conceptualising minority rights Paper presentation spirit May 1st 2003 Helene Pristed Working paper for Spirit presentation on Thursday May 1st 2003 1 Helene Pristed, SPIRIT 1. Introduction This project takes its original starting point in Benedict Anderson´s idea of ’Imagined Communities’1. Even if I am personally somewhat sceptical towards Anderson´s technological dialogic materialism; his general argument that communities and nations are basically imagined entities perpetuated by stories told through such cultural product as novels, newspapers, museums and maps has proven highly resilient. The Indian literary critic Homi Bhabha further develops the view that nations are imagined entities, and hence something that has to be narrated2. In this way all participants in society partake in the nation-building process through the stories they tell about their own nation. If this is an accurate view of what the nation is like and how it is secured continued existence through time, it should follow that different stakeholders within society should be able to influence the national self-conception via the stories they contribute to the overall narration. In this way, such narrative contributions to society should be able to alter the ideological shape of the nation. If it is indeed so, this approach could prove to be a useful way for for example minority communities to affect national developments with regards to recognition and rights for minority cultures. It might be argued that Anderson and Bhabha´s ideas of nation-building through narration is too vague a concept to support an empirical investigation. It is true that they hardly point to any concrete examples of pronounced national self-conception, but finding my support in the ideas of the political philosophe

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