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Human Rights

Concepts, Contests, Contingencies

Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns, Editors

Publication Year: 2001

Today the language of human rights, if not human rights themselves, is nearly universal. Human Rights brings together essays that attend to both the allure and criticism of human rights. They examine contestation and contingency in today's human rights politics and help us rethink some of the basic concepts of human rights. Questions addressed in Human Rights include: Can national self-determination be reconciled with human rights? Can human rights be advanced without thwarting efforts to develop indigenous legal traditions? How are the forces of modernization associated with globalization transforming our understanding of human dignity and personal autonomy? What does it mean to talk about culture and cultural choice? Is the protection of culture and cultural choice an important value in human rights discourse? How do human rights figure in local political contests and how are those contests, in turn, shaped by the spread of capitalism and market values? What contingencies shape the implementation of human rights in societies without a strong tradition of adherence to the rule of law? What are the conditions under which human rights claims are advanced and under which nations respond to their appeal? Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, Amherst College. Thomas R. Kearns is William H. Hastie Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: The Amherst Series in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought


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The Unsettled Status of Human Rights: An Introduction

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pp. 1-24

"I believe and the American people believe," former President Clinton declared during a visit to the People's Republic of China, "that freedom of speech, association and religion are, as recognized by the United Nations Charter, the right of people everywhere and should be pro ...

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Two Concepts of Self-Determination

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pp. 25-44

In a speech before a 1995 meeting of the Open-Ended Inter-Sessional Working Group on Indigenous Peoples' Rights, established in accordance with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Craig Scott appealed to a meaning of self-determination as relationship and connection, not the commonly understood sense of separation and independence. ...

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Cultural Choice and the Revision of Freedom

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pp. 45-62

Liberals have a way of occupying the high moral ground while keeping the lower depths finely covered, moving convincingly from "causes" to cases, balancing theory and practice. What are the possibilities of maneuver in the midst of such fluency? Susan Okin's "Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?" ...

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Durkheim Revisited: Human Rights as the Moral Discourse for the Postcolonial, Post-Cold War World

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pp. 63-88

At the end of the last century, Durkheim advocated something very close to human rights as the appropriate moral discourse for a modern society with a well-developed division of labor.1 Growing up in the aftermath of the failed social revolutions of 1848, at a time that historian Eric Hobsbawm has characterized as the"Age of Capital,"2 Durkheim ...

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The Legal Protection of Human Rights in Africa: How to Do More with Less

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pp. 89-116

It may sound heretical for me as a lawyer to suggest that African societies may actually "do more" for the implementation of human rights "with less" reliance on the legal protection of these rights.1 My basic argument for this proposition is premised on a dilemma: the importance of legal protection of human rights, on the one hand, and the ...


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pp. 117-118


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pp. 119-124

E-ISBN-13: 9780472023622
E-ISBN-10: 0472023624
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472089031
Print-ISBN-10: 047208903X

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2001

Series Title: The Amherst Series in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought
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OCLC Number: 593274279
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Human Rights