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This book explores the tension between universal principles of human rights and the self-determination claims of sovereign states as they affect the claims of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants. Drawing on the work of Kant's "cosmopolitan doctrine" and positions developed by Hannah Arendt, Seyla Benhabib explores how the topic has been analyzed within the larger history of political thought. She argues that many of the issues raised in abstract debate between universalism and multiculturalism can find acceptable solutions in practice.Read more
- Engages with one of the most important political issues of today. Particularly relevant for the European Union and the US
- Presents a substantial argument, drawing on political philosophy, to provoke a broader and deeper response to this subject
- Winner of the North American Society for Social Philosophy's award for best book in social philosophy in 2004
Reviews & endorsements
"Benhabib’s The Rights of Others shows – unflinchingly, astutely and bravely – that immigration remains such a pitched battle in the West because it is part of a larger war of ideas."
The NationSee more reviews
"Benhabib’s book does political theory great service: it attends to the consequences of the empirical realities of the ‘fraying of state sovereignty’ and the ‘disaggregation or unbundling of citizenship,’ and it makes an impassioned, theoretically substantiated plea for the ‘need to decriminalize the worldwide movement of peoples, and treat each person, whatever his or her political citizenship status, in accordance with the dignity of moral personhood.’"
"… an important contribution to the literature on global justice, offering a promising defense of the cosmopolitan ideal of porous (if not open) borders."
Human Rights Review
"The value of Benhabib’s The Rights of Others is in fostering discourse between the theories underlying our political and ethical order and the needs of migrants… Hers is a bold statement to theorists that engagement is needed with people as yet neglected in their work… A bold contribution to a dialogue central to refugee studies."
Journal of Refugee Studies
"With this book, Benhabib has done philosophers and political theorists an important service by directing our attention to a crucial issue of global justice; her incisive analysis will no doubt set the stage for the debate that should by all rights follow."
Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
"… a rare and remarkable combination of informed political theorizing and contemporary empirical application to real world challenges."
Dario Castiglione, University of Exeter
"… an important and compelling attempt to connect developments in political theory with efforts to extend citizen rights and protections."
Gerald Mara, Georgetown University
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- Date Published: November 2004
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521538602
- length: 266 pages
- dimensions: 216 x 140 x 14 mm
- weight: 0.31kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. On hospitality: rereading Kant's cosmopolitan doctrine
2. 'The right to have rights': Hannah Arendt and the contradictions of the nation-state
3. The law of peoples, distributive justice and migrations
4. Transformations of citizenship: the case of the European Union
5. Democratic iterations: the local, the national and the global
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Feminist Philosophy
- Human Rights Law
- Human Rights: Dignity and Difference
- Introduction to World Literature
- Shadows of the Englightenment: Human Rights in Germany
- Theoretical Perspectives on Justice
- World Humanities- Subjectivity in Modernity
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