Cover image for The Politics of human rights
The Politics of human rights
Beogradski krug.
Publication Information:
London ; New York: Verso, [1999]

Physical Description:
360 pages ; 24 cm
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JC571 .P65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This volume sets out to describe the political and philosophical underpinnings of the idea of human rights by bringing together a collection of original essays by a group of highly distinguished theorists. Recognizing that Western insistence on the universality of the concept of human rights can also function as diplomatic cover for post-colonial interventions, it insists that the campaign for human rights must take into account the varied social and economic environments in different nation states that affect the ways such demands can be implemented. This campaign is most effective when demonstrating international solidarity with those whose basic rights are jeopardized or denied.

Author Notes

Obrad Savic teaches History of Social Sciences at the University of Belgrade. He is editor-in-chief of the Belgrade Circle Journal , and author and editor of numerous collections.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The essays in The Politics of Human Rights are reprinted from the third issue of the irregular serial Belgrade Circle Journal (ISSN 0354-635X). The Belgrade Circle is a nongovernmental organization founded in 1992 that, according to its web site, promotes "a free, open, pluralist, democratic, and rational civil society" and looks forward to a new Europe rather than back to old Serbia. A better title for the collection would have been "The Political Theory of Human Rights" as the contributors advocate a legal framework as the best protection for human rights, basing their arguments on the early Western European political philosophers of those rights. Three of the essays are analyses of human rights texts; only the last two, written by the volume editor, consider contemporary Yugoslavia. The publication of such essays in Belgrade may be a subversive activity, but they will hardly seem radical to American readers. Furthermore, the photo of Slobodan Milosevic on the cover misleads the reader to expect the contents to focus on Serbia, which is barely mentioned. Chomsky (MIT), a longtime critic of U.S. foreign policy, contributed one essay to the preceding book as well as writing his own book during the spring 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. He compares the rhetoric of the U.S. government justifying this intervention to its rhetoric and actions in other parts of the world both recently (the Kurds) and in past decades (several incursions into Central America). In all cases, he depicts the United States as a rogue superpower intent on enforcing its wishes everywhere while flouting international legal conventions and undermining world order in the process. Intense anger and strong passion drip from every page, but the haste of composition has led to numerous nonsense statements, such as "If we had records, we might find that Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun professed humanitarian motives." His arguments would be better served by a thorough revision. Neither volume can be recommended.ÄMarcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Terry EagletonObrad SavicJohn RawlsEmmanuel LevinasJurgen HabermasRichard RortyPeter DewsCharles TaylorJon ElsterAntonio CasseseRobert DahlJean-Francois LyotardAaron RhodesAleksandar MolnarMarijana SantracCharlotte BunchAnthony GiddensTerry EagletonRajesh SampathJean BaudrillardNoam ChomskyPaul JalbertChristopher NorrisObrad SavicObrad SavicObrad Savic
Prefacep. v
Part I The Politics of Human Rights
Introduction: The Global and the Local in Human Rightsp. 3
1 The Law of Peoplesp. 16
2 The Rights of Man and Good Willp. 46
3 Private and Public Autonomy, Human Rights and Popular Sovereigntyp. 50
4 Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentalityp. 67
5 Law, Solidarity and the Tasks of Philosophyp. 84
6 Conditions of an Unforced Consensus on Human Rightsp. 101
7 Majority Rule and Individual Rightsp. 120
8 Are Human Rights Truly Universal?p. 149
9 Democracy and Human Rights under Different Conditions of Developmentp. 166
10 The Other's Rightsp. 181
11 Human Rights in the 'New Europe'p. 189
12 Hobbes, 'Fearful Discourse', and the Basic Right to Refuse to Bear Arms during Military Servicep. 194
13 The Legal Status of National Minorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslaviap. 218
14 Women's Rights as Human Rightsp. 232
Part II Subversive Discourse
15 Political Theory and the Problem of Violencep. 245
16 Local and Globalp. 258
17 Time of Consumption and the Consumption of Timep. 268
18 The Perfect Crimep. 273
Part III Inventory of Texts
19 'A Painful Peace'p. 281
20 Critique and Analysis in Media Studiesp. 303
21 Metaphor, Ontology and Scientific Truthp. 322
Part IV War in the Tribal Zone: Yugoslavia
22 Parallel Worldsp. 335
23 Speed Memories (III)p. 346
Bibliographyp. 349
Notes on Contributorsp. 357