Chapter

Rights as Trumps and the Quest for Certainty

Karen Zivi

in Making Rights Claims

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199826414
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919437 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826414.003.0002
Rights as Trumps and the Quest for Certainty

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Working with and against the arguments of Dworkin, Ignatieff, and Sen, this chapter argues that contemporary liberal and deliberative democratic conceptions of rights fail to fully capture the performativity, and thus the democratic character, of the practice of rights claiming. It sheds light on the investment such perspectives have in assuring the felicity or successful outcome of a rights claim, and suggests that this investment is evident in an ongoing tendency to treat rights claims as trumps or claims that bring an end to a particular contest. In other words, this chapter suggests that traditional liberal and recent deliberative democratic defences of rights claiming go awry to the extent that they treat rights claims almost exclusively as illocutionary utterances.

Keywords: liberal rights; deliberative democracy; felicity; trumps; performativity; illocutionary utterances

Chapter.  8288 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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