Aitchison, Guy, Are Human Rights Moralistic.pdf (528.01 kB)

Are human rights moralistic?

Download (528.01 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 27.07.2021, 11:17 by Guy AitchisonGuy Aitchison
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature. In this paper, I engage with the radical critique of human rights moralism. Radical critics argue that: (i) human rights are myopic (they overlook important dimensions of power); (ii) human rights are demobilising (they obscure political conflict); (iii) human rights are paternalistic (they undermine political agency); and (iv) human rights are monopolistic (they displace more radical, collectivist ideologies). I argue that critics offer important insights into the limits of human rights as a language of social justice. However, critics err insofar as they imply that human rights are irredeemably corrupted and they under-estimate the subversive potential of the moral ideas that underpin the discourse. Building on the idea of human rights as claims, I set out the politicising features of human rights as they are deployed in a practical context of disagreement, conflict, and imbalances of power. I illustrate this discussion with reference to the contemporary struggles of irregular migrants.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Politics and International Studies

Published in

Human Rights Review

Volume

19

Issue

1

Pages

23 - 43

Publisher

Springer (part of Springer Nature)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Springer

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Human Rights Review and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12142-017-0480-4

Publication date

2017-11-18

Copyright date

2018

ISSN

1524-8879

eISSN

1874-6306

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Guy Aitchison. Deposit date: 27 July 2021