Philosophers, Activists, and Radicals: A Story of Human Rights and Other Scandals [Book Review]

Human Rights Review 12 (2):191-220 (2011)
Abstract
Paradoxically, the political success of human rights is often taken to be its philosophical failing. From US interventions to International NGOs to indigenous movements, human rights have found a place in diverse political spaces, while being applied to disparate goals and expressed in a range of practices. This heteronomy is vital to the global appeal of human rights, but for traditional moral and political philosophy it is something of a scandal. This paper is an attempt to understand and theorize human rights on the terrain of the social actors who put them to use, particularly radical activists that have a more critical relationship to human rights. Attempting to avoid the philosophical pathology of demanding that the world reflect our conception of it, we base our reflection on the ambiguous, and potentially un-patterned, texture of human rights practice—taking seriously the idea that human rights express a relationship of power, importantly concerned with its legitimate arrangement and limitation. In both the philosophical literature and human rights activism, there seems to be a consensus on basic rights as undeniable moral principles of political legitimacy. This use of human rights is contrasted with radical social movements that reject this conception of rights as ideological and illegitimate, making specific reference to the Zapatista movement (Chiapas, Mexico) and the Landless Peasant Movement of Brazil (MST, from the Portuguese Movimento dos trabalhadores rurais Sem Terra), which are critical of the human rights discourse, but also make strategic use of the idea and offer alternative articulations of political legitimacy
Keywords Human rights  Agonism  Activism  EZLN  MST
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12142-010-0172-9
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,865
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

The Law of Peoples.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 2007 - University of Notre Dame Press.
A Brief History of Neoliberalism.David Harvey - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
On Human Rights.James Griffin - 2008 - Oxford University Press.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Are Human Rights Moralistic?Guy Aitchison - 2018 - Human Rights Review 19 (1):23-43.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Human Rights Enjoyment in Theory and Activism.Brooke Ackerly - 2011 - Human Rights Review 12 (2):221-239.
Toward a Political Conception of Human Rights.Kenneth Baynes - 2009 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (4):371-390.
Human Rights.João Cardoso Rosas - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 11:93-100.
History, Human Rights, and Globalization.Sumner B. Twiss - 2004 - Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (1):39-70.
Human Rights and Human Well-Being.William Talbott - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Human Rights Without Foundations.Joseph Raz - 2010 - In J. Tasioulas & S. Besson (eds.), The Philosphy of International Law. Oxford University Press.
Towards a Study of Human Rights Practitioners.Robin Redhead & Nick Turnbull - 2011 - Human Rights Review 12 (2):173-189.
The Global Reach of Human Rights.Amartya Sen - 2012 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (2):91-100.
From Human Rights to Sentient Rights.Alasdair Cochrane - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (5):655-675.
The Idea of Human Rights.Charles R. Beitz - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-11-24

Total downloads
28 ( #228,463 of 2,293,803 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #137,650 of 2,293,803 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature