Abstract: A noted feature of the postcolonial environment is how the anthropological term “culture” has entered the demotic narratives of the discipline’s former subjects. Notions of culture are now set to perform many tasks, and Indigenous claims that particular practices, attributes or things constitute examples of a discreet culture are frequent. This paper argues that such claims are not necessarily cultural in the way supposed, but rather form part of an international discourse of rights now utilised by minorities and indigenes in settler nations as a way of asserting authority and of proclaiming identity and resistance. It concludes by noting that much contemporary postcolonial (and other) scholarship’s respect for difference and need for radical alterities as the basis of a critique of western hegemony weakens the will for analysis of these issues, leading at times to contradictory argument.

Keywords: culture; minority elites; rights

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