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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Anthropological research played an important role in tracing the ethnographic contours of the rise and transformation of rights in the post-Cold War period. This chapter surveys some of the most important currents in the anthropology of rights as an enduring context for the wider field of anthropology and law. First, the chapter examines key developments in the anthropology of human rights, which served as a methodological and conceptual anchor for the post-Cold War anthropology of rights more generally. The chapter then turns to another category of rights with which anthropologists have been closely associated, both as researchers and as engaged scholars: Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Next, the chapter examines anthropological research that has revealed the importance of what might be called non-liberal categories of rights, that is, rights that are not based, historically or conceptually, in the development of liberal rights within the Western philosophical and political tradition. The chapter concludes by looking to the future: how will the anthropology of rights evolve in the coming years, both in preserving certain core concerns and in moving in new directions?

Keywords: anthropology, human rights, gender rights, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, non-liberal rights, biocentric and relational rights, methodology

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