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Action and Institution: Contributions to a discourse theory of human rights
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the theoretical rights discourse rights are commonly analyzed in terms of two themes,negative and positive rights, on the one hand, and individual and collective rights, on theother. We witness similar themes in the empirical rights discussion held by the UnitedNations’ Commission on Human Rights (the CHR). There is a tendency in both the theoreticaland empirical rights discourse of not including one kind of rights, namely, political rights.Political rights are either not mentioned at all or only in terms of negative rights, that is, asrights we are assigned through a ballot-paper.The purpose of this thesis is to problematize the absence of political rights in the humanrights discourse from a deliberative perspective. The thesis takes part in the debate of how tounderstand and legitimize human rights, one presumption being that if we cannot define orjustify any natural rights another possible way to go is to start out from a substantive actionrelatednotion of political rights and a problematization of the relationship between politicalrights and other rights. More specifically, the aim of the thesis is to make a contribution to adiscourse theory of human rights and apply it to a global rights institution, the CHR, bystarting out from and at the same time criticizing Jürgen Habermas’ discourse theory of lawand democracy.A discourse theory of human rights links democratic processes with rights and opens thedoor for new ways of defining traditional democratic concepts such as representation andparticipation. Facing one of the most urgent problems on the international political arena, i.e.,how to democratize the United Nations, this thesis is a contribution, albeit a small one, to howthis could be done, viz. by finding ways to make the international human rights discoursemore legitimate than it would otherwise have been.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm Univeristy , 2003. , 279 p.
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 95
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102613ISBN: 91-7265-726-XOAI: diva2:711758
Public defence
2003-10-11, 13:00
Available from: 2014-04-11 Created: 2014-04-11 Last updated: 2014-04-11Bibliographically approved

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