Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Dead Hand of Human Rights: Contrasting Christianities in Post-Transition Malawi
Author:Englund, HarriISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Malawi
human rights
Religion and Witchcraft
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161510
Abstract:The preoccupation of donors, political leaders, NGOs and churches with human rights has inspired little analysis as to how the 'human rights talk' may limit an understanding of social and political problems. Malawi's current liberalization policy has embraced the discourse of rights with such vigour that it is becoming the only language persons in public offices are able to speak. This article examines practices and discourses in Catholic and Pentecostal churches in Malawi in order to show how the claiming of human rights as 'natural' may be unwarranted. The article shows that the 'human rights talk' can marginalize other ways of conceiving of human dignity and values, and there may be different approaches to politics even in the same churches. It contrasts in particular elite and lay practices in Catholic and Pentecostal churches in Malawi. Drawing upon rural and urban fieldwork, the article reveals variation as much within as between these two forms of Christianity. Rather than documenting a wholesale rejection of the 'human rights talk', the article draws attention to the situational use of different moral ideas. Accordingly, the article's plea is for an appreciation of the true pluralism of moral ideas. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.