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Palgrave Macmillan

Recognising Human Rights in Different Cultural Contexts

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

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  • © 2020


  • Breaks new ground by exploring how international law is translated into specific cultural contexts
  • interdisciplinary in its focus with contributions from the disciplines of Law, Disability Studies and the Social Sciences
  • Features international contributors from North America, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, and Asia
  • Draws together the work of people with disabilities, academics and policy practitioners, enabling different perspectives on the contribution of the CRPD and the way in which it has been enacted in different domestic contexts and cultures
  • Is written in an accessible style and has a clear, readable format that can be equally used by academics, policy makers and government representatives in countries which have already ratified, or are considering ratifying, the CRPD

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Table of contents (17 chapters)

  1. Culture, Disability and the CRPD

  2. The Ratification Process: To Be or Not to Be?


About this book

This book explores the journey of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as it is interpreted and translated from International Human Rights Law into domestic law and policy in different cultural contexts. Beginning with reflections on ‘culture’, ‘disability’ and ‘human rights’ from different disciplinary perspectives, the work is then organised as ‘snapshots’ of the journey of the CRPD from the international level to the domestic; the process of ratification, the process of implementation, and then the process of monitoring the CRPD’s implementation in States Parties cultural contexts. Leading global contributors provide cutting-edge accounts of the interactions between the CRPD and diverse cultures, revealing variations in the way that the concept of ‘culture’ is defined. This collection will appeal to academics and students in Law and Socio-Legal Studies, Disability Studies, Policy Studies and Social Work, Sociology, Anthropology; and those training to be service providers with persons with disabilities.


“This is an excellent edited collection, which will be a very useful resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and academics, plus DPOs and state policy makers. Its range of case- study examples provide a detailed critical account of the CRPD, its transformative potential, and the importance of state and local contexts and cultures, and the involvement of people with disabilities, in its adoption.” (Edward Hall, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, July 9, 2021) ​‘Without a human rights-based culture the aims of the CRPD cannot be achieved. This compelling book gives insights into a multi-cultural analysis of implementation and monitoring processes relating to the human rights of persons with disabilities. It is a valuable, cutting-edge contribution to the evolving area of Comparative International Law and Policy.’ (Professor Theresia Degener, Protestant University of Applied Studies, Germany)‘We have long needed critical engagement with the cultural assumptions about human rights and disability. This book addresses that need by unpacking the contextual specificity of each of these concepts—culture, disability and rights. The book is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance the rights of persons with disabilities in whatever setting they are hoping to influence. Perspectives and examples beyond the usual Global North voices are a particularly useful contribution from this collection.’ (Professor Karen R Fisher, UNSW, Australia)
‘When the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006, the work of human rights was only just beginning. This varied and fascinating book reveals some of the ways in which national contexts and cultures adopted and implemented the Convention into local use. We need urgently to understand the complexity of implementing disability equality, and this collection is of inestimable help in that task.’ (Professor Tom Shakespeare, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
‘An important addition to the field of disability rights, highlighting the role of culture(s)—legal, social, and identity—on international law-making processes, interpretation and implementation. With “snapshots” of the journey of the CRPD post-ratification across and within nations, Recognising Human Rights in Different Cultural Contexts provides a first of its kind look into dynamics and embedded values that affect the struggle for human rights of persons with disabilities.’ (Assistant Professor Maya Sabatello, Columbia University)
‘Culture can be a powerful influence on the way in which international law is adopted or resisted, and this book acts as a timely reminder of its importance. Drawing on evidence from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the authors provide a sensitive, unique and insightful portrayal of the intersection between legislative directive and its translation into practice in different cultural contexts, within and between societies. It is a thought-provoking and interesting book that addresses complexity and diversity but in itself is well-structured and inclusive in its approach.’ (Professor Pauline Heslop, University of Bristol)

Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

    Emily Julia Kakoullis

  • Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, Australia

    Kelley Johnson

About the editors

Dr Emily Julia Kakoullis is a Lecturer in Human Rights Law at the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University in the UK. She has worked as a Researcher at the University of Exeter, University of Bristol and University of Maastricht. Prior to a career in academia Kakoullis worked as a Legal Researcher at the Ministry of Justice in the UK and for a disability non-governmental organisation in Cyprus.

Professor Kelley Johnson holds Honorary Professorial appointments at Deakin University and University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia. She is an internationally known scholar who has been a researcher and advocate with persons with disabilities for more than 20 years in Australia and internationally.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Recognising Human Rights in Different Cultural Contexts

  • Book Subtitle: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

  • Editors: Emily Julia Kakoullis, Kelley Johnson

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-981-15-0785-4Published: 27 June 2020

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-981-15-0788-5Published: 27 June 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-981-15-0786-1Published: 26 June 2020

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIX, 394

  • Topics: Disability Studies, Human Rights, Social Work and Community Development, Cultural Anthropology

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