Culture and the Environment: Coping with Conflicting Goals and Cultural Diversity
OUR CREATIVE DIVERSITY - A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE, pp. 109-116, UNESCO, 1998
11 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2010
Date Written: 1998
How should we approach the hard choices regarding conflicts between existing cultures on the one hand and on the other hand developmental goals, environmental long-term considerations and 'global ethics'? These notes offer a sketch in broad strokes of a political theory addressing these issues. In particular, a concern is to provide a framework for discussions on a basis which respects cultural diversity, in that it is not objectionably based on 'Western' or liberal assumptions about individuals as choosers of life plans.The aim is to yield some reflections on two central policy issues of the document Our Creative Diversity: a) The conception of development as expanding human capabilities, which in turns affects the conception of environmental degradation, and b) the basis for claims to rights to culture. Such a basis should allow us to accommodate both respect for a broad range of cultures and a basis for objecting to some aspects of some cultures, eg. those that hinder the appropriate kinds of development by violating certain norms of gender equality or by preventing the satisfaction of basic needs.
Keywords: culture, environment, diversity, Ethics, political theory
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