Civil Religion, Human Rights and International Relations
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Civil Religion, Human Rights and International Relations

Connecting People Across Cultures and Traditions

Edited by Helle Porsdam

This ground breaking book discusses whether human rights can be forged into a common set of transcendent principles against which actions of every nation can be judged and whether such a common understanding, or civil religion, could one day become a vehicle for global peace.
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Chapter 9: Human Rights as Lived Experience: Kinship, Fictive Kinship, and Human Rights Among Trans-national Migrants

Jay M. Winter


JOBNAME: Helle Porsdam PAGE: 1 SESS: 11 OUTPUT: Mon Jan 23 12:40:01 2012 9. Human rights as lived experience: kinship, fictive kinship, and human rights among trans-national migrants Jay M. Winter This chapter describes the downward derogation of human rights discourse and activity in a period when national and state political leaders have avoided the subject of undocumented immigration like the plague. It is part of a broader study of human rights as syncretic, the product of social processes by and large generated from below, through civil society rather than through the state or the courts.1 Particularly vital roles are played in the generation of rights talk and rights claims today by people bonded together by kinship, fictive kinship and communal ties. Here we study links between migrants and remaining residents in Tlaxcala, Mexico and their families and friends in New Haven, Connecticut. My central claim is that it is in the context of this migratory flow that human rights discourses have emerged. Here the focus is on the linkage between rights talk and lived experience, derived from field work on Mexican migration, documented and undocumented, between the state of Tlaxcala and New Haven, Connecticut. 1 I am grateful to the Hewlett Foundation and Yale University for generous funding of this project, which I directed with Gus Ranis. Together with my co-investigator Gustavo Verduzco of the Colegio de Mexico, we were able to frame this study, and with the research assistance of Nadia Nehls and Ana Minian, we...

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