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The politics of universal rights claiming: Secular and sacred rights claiming in post-revolutionary Tunisia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
Number of Authors: 1
2017 (English)In: Review of International Studies, ISSN 0260-2105, E-ISSN 1469-9044, Vol. 43, no 3, 453-474 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article contributes to a theoretical understanding of rights claiming as a specific form of political practice. The article develops and defends a post-foundationalist understanding of rights discourse as a way of making a claim to social change through appealing to a universal and illustrates such an understanding with the contestation over women's rights in post-revolutionary Tunisia. To develop this argument, the article draws on Jacques Ranciere's notion of political subjectification and Ernesto Laclau's engagement with the relation between the universal and the particular. To examine the relevance of such conceptualisation, the article turns to the struggle over women's rights in post-revolutionary Tunisia, where secular and sacred understandings of the universal have been invoked frequently through rights discourse. In this context it is shown that claims to the universal give rhetorical force to rights discourse, and instead of depoliticising social relations, which rights discourse is often charged with, such claims are vital for political efficacy. However, whereas Laclau's position helps us to understand rights as a language of resistance, a more robust defence of the universal is needed to defend rights in terms of emancipatory political change. To pursue this argument, the article turns to Ranciere's defence of axiomatic equality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 43, no 3, 453-474 p.
Keyword [en]
Rights, Universalism, Women's Rights Claiming, Laclau, Ranciere, Post-revolutionary Tunisia
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144766DOI: 10.1017/S0260210516000450ISI: 000402800900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144766DiVA: diva2:1127644
Available from: 2017-07-18 Created: 2017-07-18 Last updated: 2017-07-18Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • Other style
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  • de-DE
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