Human Rights and Powerlessness: Pathologies of Choice and Substance
9 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2009 Last revised: 9 Feb 2010
Date Written: April 1, 2008
The human rights corpus is a bundle of pathologies of choice and substance. But these pathologies are ideologically driven and inhere in the human rights movement because of the political choices and biases that are part of the cultural universe of human rights. In particular, the corpus is captive to thin notions of human rights that tend not to challenge deeply embedded social and economic assumptions and systems. The historical narrative of the human rights movement closely parallels the hegemonic rise of the West and hence the movement’s imprisonment in an intellectual project that casts the human being in the narrow idiom of the traditional rights discourse.
Keywords: economic powerlessness, political despotism, economic tyranny, core political and civil rights, individualism, globalization, universal vision, liberalism
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