In her essay “The Decline of the Nation-State and the End of the Rights of Man,” Hannah Arendt famously wrote, “Nobody had been aware that mankind, for so long a time considered under the image of a family of nations, had reached the state where whoever was thrown out of one of these tightly organized closed communities found himself thrown out of the family of nations altogether.” Surveying the aftermath of the world wars, the same aftermath that eventually led to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Arendt found that a person had to be emplaced—the subject of a political space—in the state-oriented order of geopolitics to be cognizable as a subject of human rights. The stateless, being displaced, were excluded from such a regime of rights and from the global political community. Bare humanity, Arendt argued, was an insufficiently binding political identity. As she wrote in her arresting language, “The world found nothing sacred in the abstract nakedness of being human.”
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