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Popular resistance and the idea of rights

chapter
posted on 10.09.2020 by Guy Aitchison-Cornish
Neo-republican theorists have expressed scepticism at the idea of non-institutional moral rights which they associate with objectionable aspects of the natural rights tradition. However, their alternatives risk making rights the gift of the state and so losing the role of rights as a vocabulary of political critique and struggle. In this chapter, I defend the coherence of rights as moral entitlements which individuals possess independently of state recognition. I examine an early radical strand of natural rights thinking as articulated by the English Levellers. These early modern radical republicans defended a right to resistance as a fall-back right that guaranteed the other rights one enjoyed. Attention to this current of thinking has the potential to correct the statist bias of contemporary republican accounts by highlighting the idea of rights as a vocabulary of social criticism tied to the people as a source of moral claims and collective resistance.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Politics and International Studies

Published in

Radical Republicanism: Recovering the Tradition's Popular Heritage

Pages

103 - 117

Publisher

Oxford University Press, USA

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Oxford University Press

Publisher statement

Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press, https://global.oup.com/academic/product/radical-republicanism-9780198796725?cc=gb&lang=en&

Publication date

2020-03-20

Copyright date

2020

ISBN

9780198796725; 0198796722

Language

en

Editor(s)

White S; Nabulsi K; Leipold B

Depositor

Dr Guy Aitchison Cornish. Deposit date: 7 September 2020

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