Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Baron Pineda


Islamism, Veiling, Female genital cutting, Democracy, Capabilites approach, Human rights


This paper explores the perceived incompatibilities between human rights discourse and traditional values in the Middle East and North Africa. After reviewing relevant literature and concepts, it posits that this conflict is the result of social, political, and economic factors within a historical context and suggests using capabilities approach forwarded by Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen as a tool for better understanding and implementing human rights in the region. Rather than see culture as an adversary, this approach explains the potential of culture and religion in resolving ideological conflicts, especially for ambiguous human rights. This paper presents veiling, gential cutting, and democracy as examples of vaguely defined human rights and posits that the capabilities approach is uniquely equipped to navigate its role in cultural politics and human rights discourse.

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