Accepted Paper:

Ethical modalities of being and humans rights discourse in Yap, FSM  


Jason Throop (UCLA)

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I seek to interrogate from a phenomenological and ethnographic perspective discourses of human rights as articulated and experienced in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. Tacking back and forth between an existentialist orientation to ethics as explored in the writings of Emanuel Levinas and the experience of moral life in contemporary Yapese communities, I will attempt to provide an experientially grounded account of how so called "global" discourses of human rights are at times taken up, contested, and transformed in the concrete everyday worlds of Yapese social actors. In particular, I am interested in thinking through how the notion of inalienable rights, which are often discursively constituted in terms of entity-like, present-at-hand, attributes that people possess, are positioned in relation to everyday moral experience in Yap. Traditionally, such ethical modalities of being were primarily understood to be dynamic and dispositional sensibilities that were always embedded in, and defined by, an individual's concrete interpersonal relations, responsibilities, and activities.

Panel W035
Joining phenomenologies and political economies of 'the Global'