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The Concept of Human Rights in Africa

Issa G. Shivji

Publication Year: 2007

Hitherto the human rights debate in Africa has concentrated on the legal and philosophical. The author, Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, here moves the debate to the social and political planes. He attempts to reconceptualise human rights ideology from the standpoint of the working people in Africa. He defines the approach as avoiding the pitfalls of the liberal perspective as being absolutist in viewing human rights as a central question and the rights struggle as the backbone of democratic struggles. The author maintains that such a study cannot be politically neutral or intellectually uncommitted. Both the critique of dominant discourse and the reconceptualisation are located within the current social science and jurisprudential debates.

Published by: African Books Collective

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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p. vi-vi

I wrote this book in Harare, Zimbabwe during my sabbatical. Colleagues at the Faculty of Law, University of Zimbabwe provided the intellectual atmosphere which was very encouraging, enabling . . .

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pp. vii-viii

The Human Rights Discourse on and in Africa is intellectually backward, even by the standards of the African social science. That would not matter if . . .

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Introduction - Rights Ideology and Rights Struggle

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pp. 1-8

Once upon a time, in the continent's five centuries of domination and bleeding, 'black skins' were said to have no souls. They could be bartered for beads; gunned . . .

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1 - The Dominant Discourse

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pp. 9-42

Human rights discourse has become one of the main' growth points' of the academic industry in the last fifteen or so years. The output of literature on . . .

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2 - A Critique

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pp. 43-68

The prevailing human rights discourse on Africa, as I have endeavoured to highlight in ChaRter One, is fundamentally within the idealist philosophical . . .

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3 - Revolutionising Human Rights Framework

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pp. 69-92

The discussion of the prevailing human rights discourse in Chapter One and its critique in Chapter Two have sufficiently exposed the need to build a new . . .

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4 - Dominant and Revolutionary Tendencies Illustrated

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pp. 93-108

Broadly the two tendencies in human rights, which may be characterised as 'dominant' and 'revolutionary', are manifested respectively in a . . .

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Conclusion: An Agenda for Research

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pp. 109-110

Several issues and areas have been thrown up by this work which have been either under-researched or very often unresearched. As we observed . . .

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pp. 111-115

We live at a time of great hopes and deep despair; a time of conflicts and contradictions; a time when liberation struggles have succeeded in arousing the . . .


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pp. 117-126

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9782869784215
Print-ISBN-13: 9781870784023

Page Count: 136
Publication Year: 2007