The Right to Have Rights

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Verso Books, Feb 13, 2018 - Political Science - 160 pages
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Five leading thinkers on the concept of ‘rights’ in an era of rightlessness

Sixty years ago, the political theorist Hannah Arendt, an exiled Jew deprived of her German citizenship, observed that before people can enjoy any of the “inalienable” Rights of Man—before there can be any specific rights to education, work, voting, and so on—there must first be such a thing as “the right to have rights.” The concept received little attention at the time, but in our age of mass deportations, Muslim bans, refugee crises, and extra-state war, the phrase has become the center of a crucial and lively debate. Here five leading thinkers from varied disciplines—including history, law, politics, and literary studies—discuss the critical basis of rights and the meaning of radical democratic politics today.

 

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Contents

The Right to Have Rights
1
The Right Stephanie DeGooyer
21
to Have Lida Maxwell
45
Rights Samuel Moyn
59
of Whom? Alastair Hunt
75
Afterwords Astra Taylor
103
Acknowledgments
123
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About the author (2018)

Stephanie DeGooyer is Assistant Professor of English at Willamette University and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University.

Alastair Hunt is Associate Professor of English at Portland State University.

Lida Maxwell is Associate Professor of Politics at Boston University.

Samuel Moyn is Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of History at Yale University.

Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist.

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