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Flashcards in Ideas and Critiques Deck (39)
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1

4 Key Themes

1) Why is critique necessary?
2) The different critiques
3) Main points of critique
4) What happens after critique?

2

Why is the critique of human rights so significant?

It is the 'doxa' of our age
-> everybody has something to say about it

3

What did MEGRET say about human rights critiques?

'Last 2 decades have witnessed the dramatic rise of human rights law as a force to be reckoned with, and with it the emergence of significant, sustained and complex critique'

4

What can it be suggested that the sheer mass and variation of critiques mean?

It is a sign or result of the very ubiquity and success of the HR movement

5

3 main forms critiques take?

1) Friendly = mainly positive with suggestions to 'fix' areas
2) Fundamental = generally negative, disagree with entire concept
3) Historical vs contemporary = different times of writing means different views favoured

6

What is the fundamental point virtually all critiques focus on?

Gap between what has been promised and what actually happens

7

Standard naritive on origin of human rights?

Idea that contemporary HR are a continuation of the path to progress and human emancipation

8

2 big names in the fundamental conception of HR origins

ISHAY
HUNT (more widely accepted)

9

ISHAY on origins of HRS

-> 'Forerunners' to HR now go as far back as 1754 BC in HAMMURABI'S CODE
-> Points out tendency to have respect for human dignity etc is found in all main religions

10

HUNT on origin of HRs

-> Started in political and cultural upheavals of 18th century
- French Revolution
- American War of Independence

11

Origin of current system?

Post WWII -> UDHR 1948

12

Why is the large scale support of the standard narrative origins of HRs important?

History gives the regime;
1) Legitimacy
2) Authority

13

Who threw their toys out the pram and is a advocate of the REVISIONIST narrative of human rights origins?

MOYN
- Notably his book 'The Last Utopia'

14

MOYN'S argument in brief?

1) Began in 1970s, any argument that it was before this means that HRs used to be awful (SLAVERY??)
2) This makes HRs a fragile, historically contingent and almost accidental phenomena
3) Are NOT a natural and logical outgrowth of an unbroken chain of historical progress (unless you whitewash it and put a dick on it)

15

Why are revisionist critiques so important?

Directly challenge foundation 'myths' and expressly politicise the entire concept

16

6 big boy critiques (not exhaustive)

1) Realist
2) Utilitarian
3) Marxist
4) Relativist
5) Feminist
6) Post-colonial

17

Realist critique famous academic?

BENTHAM

18

BENTHAM'S quote on rejection of HR being perfect?

'Nonsense on stilts'

19

Realist critique in brief

- States won't protect rights if not in their direct interest to do so
- USA, Russia, China etc all serial violators although party to all major agreements and commonly condem others
- ICESCR gives a recognised right to adequate standard of living including food 800m undernourished, 100m starving

20

Realist critique crux

Rights are a hollow rhetoric or are too often used as pawns in power politics

21

UTILITARIAN critique brief

- Political/moral philosophy born in 19th century = greatest good for the greatest number
- Reject idea of individual absolute rights trump all others (A3)
- Absolute nature of rights is central to modern HR theory

22

Concerning nature of utilitarian critique?

Willingness to sacrifice one if it means that many will benefit
-> Opens can of worms, medical experiments/deportation to unsafe countries etc.

23

MARXIST critique -> 2 main elements

1) Human rights under capitalism constitute narrow and ancient individualism
2) Human rights in this form can never develop meaningful freedom or emancipation

24

In which essay did MARX sum up his points on human rights

ON THE JEWISH QUESTION

25

Key quote from MARX - On The Jewish Question

'the supposed rights of man go beyond the egotistic man'

26

MARX on hollow nature of rights

- Under capitalism human rights can only ever offer formal emancipation not human emancipation
- Human freedom only achievable by transcending the capitalist system

27

Difference between MARXISM and REALISM?

- Realist imply that there is something that could be done to breach the gap between law and reality
- Marxists argue that it is fundamentally impossible to bridge that gap under a capitalist system

28

RELATIVIST/PARTICULARIST main point

- Legitimate differences between communities and cultures
- Wrong to impose a singular western standard worldwide

29

2 big dogs of relativist critique

BENEDICT
DEMBOUR

30

BENEDICT on relativist critique?

'Morality differs in every society, and is a convenient term for socially approved habits'

31

DEMBOUR on relativist critique?

Notes the value of it, highlights dark side of universal human rights -> imperialism

32

What must relativist critique be careful to avoid?

Using cultural difference to defend the indefensible
-> FGM
-> Persecution of LGBT+ communities

33

FEMINIST CRITIQUE general

- Seeks to reveal/challenge centrality of patriarchal domination of structure/operation of society
- Particulary interested with origin etc. as rights seemed exclusive to white stright men for some time

34

POST COLONIAL general critique

- Places origin of HRs in history of colonial oppression, racial discrimination and epistemological erasure
- Highlights how non-white/non-western peoples were excluded from original HRs

35

How does post-colonial narrative see HRs at the present?

Language of HR still operates as a mask for neo-colonial and neo-imperial interventions in a geo-political sense

36

3 academics on what happens after critiques?

ZIZEK
ZIGON
BROWN

37

ZIZEK on post-critique?

Suggest that the various critiques can be interpreted as a need to jettison the language and even practice of human rights in this way

38

ZIGON on post-critique?

'Human rights practice essentially results in both the reproduction and strengthening of the very state-governing apparatus it confronts, ultimately undermining its own aims'

39

BROWN, agreeing with ZIGON

Arguments around human rights should ditch the current language and centre around justice, equality and democracy