Critiquing Rights

Upendra Baxi

in The Future of Human Rights

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195690439
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081059 | DOI:
Critiquing Rights

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Reflection implies a kind of wise retrospection and a capacity for evaluating our conduct and revising our choices. The capacity for reflection itself now stands variously problematized in high social theory as ‘reflexivity’. In one sense, reflexivity suggests and entails the practices of radical doubt and insecurity concerning the sources of our capacity to know and understand the world and our powers to act within it. This is explored in the present chapter in the contexts of the narratives of ‘universality’, ‘relativism’, and ‘anti-foundationalism’. This chapter considers reflexive practices that produce conversation concerning the justice qualities or justness of the already installed human rights norms and standards. It discusses the politics of identity, states of international law and human rights, the constitutive ambiguity of ‘human’ rightlessness, human rights essentialism, the ‘essence’ of that which designates human and the role of ideology, culture, history, and movement.

Keywords: reflexivity; human rights; essentialism; justice; justness; politics of identity; international law; human rightlessness; relativism; anti-foundationalism

Chapter.  18895 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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