Tom Campbell
PhD: University of Glasgow; Last affiliation: Charles Sturt University
The concept of rights is now so dominant in the language of politics that it is becoming difficult to identify its use with any particular approach to the solution of social problems or to gain a clear picture of its significance, its advantages and its disadvantages as a way of conceptualizing and resolving contentious political issues. None the less there is a perceptible shift towards an emphasis on rights in contemporary politics which many welcome and encourage and others question and even reject, a shift which is matched in jurisprudence by the renewed stress which many theorists place on rights as a basic legal concept despite recurrent problems associated with the concept as a tool for legal analysis and moral justification. Conflicting theories of legal rights are canvassed and this in turn feeds into the debate concerning the reality or significance of non-legal rights, for the process of law reform is often presented as a matter of giving legal embodiment to the rights which various interested categories of people are asserted to possess already.
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246100003180
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