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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2022
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Book description

Using interdisciplinary methods, this book is a pioneering exploration of Asian understandings of human dignity and human rights. It encompasses rigorous scrutiny of dignity jurisprudence in major Asian apex courts, detailed philosophical analysis of dignity in religious traditions, and contextualized socio-political analysis of religious dignity discourse in several Asian societies. This is an innovative systematic survey of how human dignity is understood in Asia, demonstrating how those understandings converge and diverge with other parts of the world. Synthesising legal, philosophical, and sociological expertise, this volume furthers the dialogue between Asia and the West, and advances debates on whether human rights are universal or particular to any one region. As many of the world's liberal democracies are challenged by polarization and populism, this comparative study of human dignity broadens our horizons and offers a potential alternative to a rigidified social imagination.


‘In Human Dignity in Asia a team of experts trace the ways in which universal humanitarian aspirations have been shaped by local cultural traditions and political circumstances as they became incorporated into law. It is a subject of great interest and importance - all the more so at a time when human rights are under threat, both in Asia and elsewhere.’

Michael Rosen - author of Dignity: its History and Meaning (2012); Senator Joseph S. Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government, Harvard University

‘This book fills a significant gap in our understanding of dignity in Asian cultures. With in-depth country studies complemented by thematic investigations of dignity’s religious and cultural significance across the region, this book is ambitious in scope and exceptionally well executed. By setting legal decisions and political reforms against the backdrop of cultural, economic, religious, and social traditions and shifts, Hsu and his contributors demonstrate that human dignity has been and continues to be a central tenet of legal culture throughout Asia. This is essential reading for anyone interested in how the law reflects and protects human dignity.’

Erin Daly - author of Dignity Rights: Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person (2020); Professor of Law, Delaware Law School, Widener University

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  • 1 - Human Dignity in Indian Constitutional Adjudication
    pp 21-39


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