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date: 18 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Human rights is a way of articulating appeals for justice and aiming at the juridification of these claims. This chapter reconstructs the political theory of human rights to highlight how solutions to the crises it aims at addressing have been articulated in political theory and practice with the result that rights claims have been expanded from the early assertions of personal integrity, religious freedom, and property of a privileged minority to the demands for social, economic, and cultural rights of the victims of exploitation, imperialism, oppression, and exclusion. This chapter examines the notions of sovereignty that sit at the core of the idea, especially the tension between human rights and popular sovereignty, which can only be temporarily resolved in political practice. It argues that human rights, although incompletely realized, retains its appeal to movements everywhere because it is the best way of realizing justice claims in the context of modernity.

Keywords: capitalism, human rights, imperialism, justice, liberalism, modernity, normative plurality, social rights, universalism

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