Human rights and welfare rights: contextualising dependency and responsibility

Hartley Dean

in The ethics of welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861345622
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303763 | DOI:
Human rights and welfare rights: contextualising dependency and responsibility

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Human rights are an ideological fiction. This is not to diminish the concept; rather it is to acknowledge that the notion of a universally definable set of rights that are inherent to human beings by virtue of their humanity is a socially constructed ideal. Human rights are an expression neither of eternal verities nor mere moral norms, but of systematically derived principles or social values. This chapter examines the broader issues that flow from the distinctively liberal-individualist conception of human rights that is associated with globalisation. It provides an overview of the historical and conceptual background to human rights and human welfare before discussing the ways in which human rights discourse is entering current debates on global social development and European social protection. The chapter also provides alternative interpretations of human rights and uses the example of current ‘workfare’ policies in Europe to demonstrate the ways in which social rights are compromised because it is an interpretation of human rights that is ascendant.

Keywords: human rights; globalisation; human welfare; global social development; European social protection; workfare policies; social rights

Chapter.  9774 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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