Rethinking accountability in the context of human rights

Res Publica 12 (3):249-275 (2006)
Within liberal democratic theory, ‘democratic accountability’ denotes an aggregative method for linking political decisions to citizens’ preferences through representative institutions. Could such a notion be transferred to the global context of human rights? Various obstacles seem to block such a transfer: there are no ‘world citizens’ as such; many people in need of human rights are not citizens of constitutional democratic states; and the aggregative methods that are supposed to sustain the link are often used in favour of nation-state strategic action rather than human rights. So what could accountability mean in relation to human rights? This article argues that discourse theory offers resources for approaching these problems and for rethinking a normative notion of accountability in relation to human rights. It is suggested that accountability should link political decisions to universal agreements through global rights institutions and that the link should be sustained by deliberative rather than aggregative procedures.
Keywords deliberation  democratic accountability  discourse theory  global institutions  human rights  Jürgen Habermas
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11158-006-9008-5
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,300
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Added to PP index

Total downloads
26 ( #201,274 of 2,193,232 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #290,647 of 2,193,232 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature