Agamben and the Politics of Human Rights: Statelessness, by John Lechte

By John Lechte

Can human rights guard the stateless? Or are they completely excluded from politics and condemned to "bare life"?Human rights are in situation this present day. all over one appears, there's violence, deprivation, and oppression, which human rights norms look powerless to avoid. This e-book investigates the roots of the present concern during the considered Italian thinker, Giorgio Agamben. Human rights concept and perform needs to come to grips with key difficulties pointed out via Agamben - the violence of the sovereign country of exception and the relief of humanity to 'bare' lifestyles. Any renewal of human rights at the present time needs to contain breaking decisively with the normal coordinates of Western political inspiration and as a substitute verify a brand new realizing of existence and political motion.

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Extra resources for Agamben and the Politics of Human Rights: Statelessness, Images, Violence

Example text

Rather, to not be part of a political community is to be expelled from humanity itself - it is to cease to be fully human: Not the loss of specific rights, then, but the loss of a community willing and able to guarantee any rights whatsoever, has been the calamity which has befallen ever-increasing numbers of people. Man, it turns out, can lose aIl so-called Rights of Man without losing his essential quality as a man, his human dignity. Only the 10ss of a polity itself expels him from humanity.

The paradox of slavery is that this property is also a person and therefore fully human. The prevailing and widely held contemporary view that full humanness can only be achieved in the polis thus breaks down. To the extent that sorne one is a person, they can be individuated, identified, have a personality and, of course, be punished and victimised. Personhood, indeed, is a very significant element in being human. When it cornes to labour in Graeco-Roman times, then, a person, whether slave or free, performed the labour.

Such people also exist in the sphere of what Arendt defines as the 'merely given' (or what, in other places, will be called 'necessity'). The 'merely given' - which is also zoe - is, in fact, a 'permanent threat to the public sphere' (181). The 'public sphere' is equivalent to political community. It is thus based in the legal structure of society and is constitutive of formaI equality, whereas the sphere of zoe is one of natural differences and inequalities. It is only in the public sphere that politicallife proper can take place and actors can experience freedom.

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Agamben and the Politics of Human Rights: Statelessness, by John Lechte
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