2003 • $23.00 • 204 pp • paper
Critical Chatter is the politicized conversation by which women activists in South East Asia negotiate the possibilities and pitfalls of human rights in their activism for social change. Based on conversations with women activists in Malaysia, the Phillippines, Hong Kong, Thailand and women from Burma living along the Thai Burma border, Lambert, Pickering, and Alder argue that critical chatter reflects the challenges of universality in human rights and feminism. But rather than outright reject, through critical chatter, women activists produce a form of strategic universality. This enables the women activists to tap into a universal framework of human rights while simultaneously acknowledging its failure to resonate among women in the community and its failure to recognize the experiences of women in the articulation of human rights standards. This book would be of interest to academics and activists interested in current challenges to social activism theory and practice, or in the potential application of a human rights framework to their work.