Abstract

Nation-states’ “boundaries” are produced in time: around official working hours and terms of office, for instance, and in the historicomythic “life of the nation.” Global human rights practices affirm and depend on nation-states’ temporal authority, while also calling that authority into question. In different ways, global markets do likewise. In recent decades, the ubiquity of both finance capital and international human rights law, among other factors, may have encouraged the fracturing of time into intervals of ever-decreasing length. Temporal authority premised on the long-term seems to have declining purchase, even as historicism and futurism abound, discouraging some modes of state-based politics associated with the long-term. In this context, international human rights law advocates seem increasingly preoccupied with the propagation of human rights concerns in “real time.” This orientation carries some peril, especially vis-à-vis its articulation with the temporalities of global finance capital. Even so, there is still time for political intervention in this uneven temporal terrain. Such intervention may be occasioned, this article argues, by reading international human rights law anachronistically, and reactivating the times and rhythms of the global economy, and of the nation-state, as political questions of the first order.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0367
Print ISSN
1080-0727
Pages
pp. 39-60
Launched on MUSE
2016-03-25
Open Access
No
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