Constructing the Meaning of Human Dignity: Four Questions

Catherine Dupré

in Understanding Human Dignity

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2013 | ISBN: 9780197265642
Published online January 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191760389 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Constructing the Meaning of Human Dignity: Four Questions

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  • Human Rights and Immigration


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This chapter argues that human dignity has a number of established and significant legal meanings and considers how the concept has been constructed. Using the provisions on human dignity enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights as an example of a recent legal formulation of human dignity in Europe, the chapter considers four key questions, namely what human dignity is, who makes human dignity, when human dignity emerged as a legal concept and why human dignity has been used as a legal concept. It is argued that understanding human dignity involves considering a range of possible answers to these questions. Methodological awareness of this plurality of narratives and narrators gives dignity its dynamism and usefulness as a legal concept.

Keywords: human rights; core definition; transformation; democracy; image of human beings; histories and narratives; judicial interpretation

Chapter.  3685 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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