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East meets West : human rights and democracy in East Asia / Daniel A. Bell

Main Author Bell, Daniel Country Estados Unidos. Publication Princeton : Princeton University Press, cop. 2000 Description XII, 369 p. ; 24 cm ISBN 0-691-00508-7 CDU 342.7 321.7
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Monografia Biblioteca Geral da Universidade do Minho
BGUMD 28257 Available 318679
Monografia Biblioteca Geral da Universidade do Minho
BGUM 342.7 - B Available 346490
Monografia Biblioteca Fernão Mendes Pinto
BFMP 342.7 - B Não requisitável | Not for loan 376226
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Is liberal democracy a universal ideal? Proponents of "Asian values" argue that it is a distinctive product of the Western experience and that Western powers shouldn't try to push human rights and democracy onto Asian states. Liberal democrats in the West typically counter by questioning the motives of Asian critics, arguing that Asian leaders are merely trying to rationalize human-rights violations and authoritarian rule. In this book--written as a dialogue between an American democrat named Demo and three East Asian critics--Daniel A. Bell attempts to chart a middle ground between the extremes of the international debate on human rights and democracy.


Bell criticizes the use of "Asian values" to justify oppression, but also draws on East Asian cultural traditions and contributions by contemporary intellectuals in East Asia to identify some powerful challenges to Western-style liberal democracy. In the first part of the book, Bell makes use of colorful stories and examples to show that there is a need to take into account East Asian perspectives on human rights and democracy. The second part--a fictitious dialogue between Demo and Asian senior statesman Lee Kuan Yew--examines the pros and cons of implementing Western-style democracy in Singapore. The third part of the book is an argument for an as-yet-unrealized Confucian political institution that justifiably differs from Western-style liberal democracy.


This is a thought-provoking defense of distinctively East Asian challenges to Western-style liberal democracy that will stimulate interest and debate among students of political theory, Asian studies, and international human rights.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgments (p. xi)
  • Introduction (p. 3)
  • Part I The East Asian Challenge to Human Rights and Democracy. Reflections on East-West Dialogues (p. 21)
  • Chapter 1 Toward a Truly International Human Rights Regime (p. 23)
  • 1. Trade-offs (p. 35)
  • 1.1. Rights vs. Development: A Zero-Sum Game? (p. 35)
  • 1.2. The Need for Specificity (p. 37)
  • 2. An Asian Voice on Human Rights? (p. 49)
  • 2.1. Human Rights: A Western Invention? (p. 49)
  • 2.2. Increasing commitment to Human Rights in East Asia: Strategic Considerations (p. 55)
  • 2.2.1. On the Prospects of Exporting American Ideals to East Asia (p. 56)
  • 2.2.2. Appealing to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Asia (p. 63)
  • 2.2.3. Local justifications for Human Rights (p. 68)
  • 3. A Different Moral Standpoint? (p. 82)
  • 3.1. Cultural Respect vs. Liberal Neutrality (p. 84)
  • 3.2. Justifiable Constraints on Western-Style Rights (p. 87)
  • 3.3. New "Asian" Rights: Expanding the Set of Internationally Recognized Rights (p. 95)
  • Summary (p. 103)
  • Chapter 2 Democratic Rights: On the Importance of Local Knowledge (p. 106)
  • 1. Trade-off Issues (p. 110)
  • 1.1. On the Possibility of Decent Nondemocratic Regimes (p. 110)
  • 1.2. The Costs of Democratization (p. 116)
  • 2. Democratic Rights: Different justifications (p. 130)
  • 2.1. Limiting the Power of the State (p. 130)
  • 2.2. Democracy as a Means for Nation-Building (p. 137)
  • 2.3. Identifying the Agents of Democratization (p. 142)
  • 2.4. Nation-Building and Social Consensus in Confucian Democracies (p. 149)
  • 3. Democratic Rights: Different Constraints (p. 158)
  • 3.1 Democracy vs. Civil Rights (p. 158)
  • 3.2 Democracy vs. Social and Economic Rights (p. 16)
  • 3.3 Democracy vs. Future Generations (p. 16)
  • Summary (p. 170)
  • Part II The Pros and Cons of Democracy in Singapore: A Fictitious Dialogue with Lee Kuan Yew (p. 173)
  • Chapter 3 Is Liberal Democracy Suitable for Singapore? (p. 175)
  • 1. Democracy Defined as Free and Fair Competitive Elections (p. 176)
  • 2. Democracy justified (Only) by Its Consequences (p. 185)
  • 3. Democracy and Security (p. 201)
  • 4. Democracy and Civil Liberties (p. 213)
  • 5. Democracy and Prosperity (p. 219)
  • Summary (p. 232)
  • Chapter 4 A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism: The Case of Singapore (p. 233)
  • 1. Community and Democracy (p. 233)
  • 2. Democracy and the Family (p. 236)
  • 3. Democracy and the Nation (p. 239)
  • 3.1. Singapore: A Patriotic Nation? (p. 239)
  • 3.2. How Authoritarianism Undermines Patriotism (p. 241)
  • 3.3. On the Need for Patriotism in Singapore (p. 253)
  • Summary (p. 271)
  • Part III Democracy With Chinese Characteristics (p. 277)
  • Chapter 5 A Political Proposal for the Post-Communist Era (p. 279)
  • 1. Constraining Democratic Populism (p. 281)
  • 1.1. On the Need for Capable and Far-Sighted Rulers in Modern Societies (p. 281)
  • 1.2. A Confucian Tradition of Respect for a Ruling Intellectual Elite (p. 286)
  • 2. Alternative Proposals (p. 289)
  • 2.1. Plural Voting Schemes (p. 292)
  • 2.2. A Corporatist Assembly (p. 294)
  • 2.3. A Parliament of Scholar-Officials (p. 299)
  • 3. The Proposal (p. 307)
  • 3.1. Selection Procedures (p. 307)
  • 3.2. The Problem of Cormption (p. 318)
  • 3.3. The Question of Universalizability (p. 323)
  • 3.4. The Problem of Gridlock (p. 328)
  • 3.5. Implementation of the Proposal (p. 332)
  • Closing Scene (p. 335)
  • Select Bibliography (p. 337)
  • Index (p. 353)

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Daniel Bell, an American sociologist and journalist, studied at City College of New York and Columbia University. As a journalist he was an editor of Fortune magazine and later served on several presidential committees. His work as chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Year 2000 led to the publication of a collection of futuristic essays and discussions by some of the finest minds of the century. His teaching career included posts at Chicago, Columbia, and Harvard universities.

In Bell's best-known book, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1976), he analyzed the emerging role of information technology in the West. He was among the first scholars to realize that the production of information and knowledge would eclipse manufacturing in the developed world. Bell will be most remembered for his groundbreaking work in social change. He contended that new theories and models of decision making had to be devised to address the issues presented by an information-based society.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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