Some paradoxes of human rights: fragmented refractions in neo-liberal times

Sircar, Oishik (2011) Some paradoxes of human rights: fragmented refractions in neo-liberal times. Journal of Indian Law and Society, 2. pp. 182-288. ISSN 2277-5552

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This essay is concerned with the cultural dimensions of the reductive paradox “scarcity in times of abundance”. Why is it that at a time of an abundance of human rights laws on paper, we also see a deepening lack of realization of human rights in the lives of subaltern peoples? The more human rights standards we have set in law, the more increase we have seen in violations of human rights. With increasing importance given to the idea of human rights by State and non-State actors alike, there has also been a devastating decrease in importance given to subaltern lives by these very actors. What is it about nonwestern countries that make all international human rights reports represent them as the worst offenders? Are industrialized countries better at protecting human rights? Isn’t that a paradox in itself that “Capitalist” political formations protect human rights better than “non-capitalist” ones? This exploratory essay confronts these questions by identifying some paradoxes that are inherent in the idea and practice of human rights in a neoliberal world. By raising questions around traditional debates like ‘universality’ and the meaning of the State, to discussing more complicated issues of imperialism, multiculturalism, representations, transnational migration and the markets of funding, I suggest a move away from the grand narratives of human rights as international relations, consensus building, or law making to their recognition as contested cultures of the quotidian, the cacophonous politics of the street, and the mundane negotiations of the everyday and ordinary.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Paradoxes | Human rights | Capitalist
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Law and Legal Studies
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Amees Mohammad
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 05:29
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 05:29


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