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Human Rights on Trial
A Genealogy of the Critique of Human Rights

$29.99 (P)

Part of Human Rights in History

  • Date Published: May 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108438155

$ 29.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The first systematic analysis of the arguments made against human rights from the French Revolution to the present day. Through the writings of Edmund Burke, Jeremy Bentham, Auguste Comte, Louis de Bonald, Joseph de Maistre, Karl Marx, Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt, the authors explore the divergences and convergences between these 'classical' arguments against human rights and the contemporary critiques made both in Anglo-American and French political philosophy. Human Rights on Trial is unique in its marriage of history of ideas with normative theory, and its integration of British/North American and continental debates on human rights. It offers a powerful rebuttal of the dominant belief in a sharp division between human rights today and the rights of man proclaimed at the end of the eighteenth century. It also offers a strong framework for a democratic defence of human rights.

    • Offers a strong framework for a democratic defense of human rights, which draws on input from both Anglo-American political theory and Continental European philosophy
    • Presents a powerful counter-argument to Samuel Moyn's main thesis (The Last Utopia), one of, if not, the most discussed book on these issues since its publication
    • Primary sources are not edited, but are presented in full to reveal the internal contradictions of some of the arguments advanced
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘In their masterful inventory of styles of critique of human rights since the birth of modernity, Justine Lacroix and Jean-Yves Pranchère bring a new sensibility to more parochial recent controversies about the historical origins and philosophical grounding of human rights. Human Rights on Trial offers calm and clarity at a moment of doubt.' Samuel Moyn, Yale University, author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World

    ‘In my opinion, Lacroix and Pranchère have written the assessment of human right's articulation with democratic politics that was just needed: avoiding confusions with humanitarianism or individualism, showing the risk and the emancipatory power that conjoins insurrection with institution, arguing for the extension of citizenship beyond its historical and social limitations. With immense knowledge and superb clarity, they provide an instrument of thought that will prove indispensable to students, scholars, professionals, and activists.' Etienne Balibar, author of Equaliberty

    ‘Lacroix and Pranchère offer a brilliant analysis of the long history of human rights skepticism in European political thought. They also bring out the richness and robustness of the idea of human rights, and rehabilitate its democratic and emancipatory potential. A historical, critical and philosophical tour de force and a deeply original contribution to a major contemporary debate in political theory and practice.' Cécile Laborde, University of Oxford

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108438155
    • length: 266 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 150 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: from the rights of man to human rights?
    1. Critiques of human rights in contemporary thought
    2. Human rights against inheritance: a conservative critique: Edmund Burke
    3. Human rights versus social utility: a progressivist critique: Jeremy Bentham and Auguste Comte
    4. Human rights against the rights of God: a theologico-political critique: Louise de Bonald and Joseph de Maistre
    5. The rights of man against human emancipation: a revolutionary critique: Karl Marx
    6. Human rights against politics: a nationalist critique: Carl Schmitt
    7. The 'right to have rights': revisiting Hannah Arendt

  • Authors

    Justine Lacroix, Université Libre de Bruxelles
    Justine Lacroix is Professor of Politics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. She is an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Political Theory.

    Jean-Yves Pranchère, Université Libre de Bruxelles
    Jean-Yves Pranchère is Professor of Philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. He is an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Social Sciences.

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