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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Victims' Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights

ISBN13: 9780199930401
Published: May 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press USA
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback
Price: £22.99
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9780199930388

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Victim's Stories and the Advancement of Human Rights takes on a set of questions suggested by the worldwide persistence of human rights abuse and the prevalence of victims' stories in human rights campaigns, truth commissions, and international criminal tribunals: What conceptions of victims are presumed in contemporary human rights discourse? How do conventional narrative templates fail victims of human rights abuse and resist raising novel human rights issues? What is empathy, and how can victims frame their stories to overcome empathetic obstacles and promote commitment to human rights? How can victims' stories be used ethically in the service of human rights?

The book addresses these concerns by analyzing the rhetorical resources for and constraints on victims' ability to articulate their stories and by clarifying how their stories can contribute to enlarged understandings of human rights protections and deepened commitments to realizing human rights. It theorizes the normative content that victims' stories can convey and the bearing of that normative content on human rights. Throughout the book, published victims' stories-including stories of torture, slavery, genocide, rape in wartime, and child soldiering-are analyzed in conjunction with philosophical arguments. This book mobilizes philosophical theory to illuminate victims' stories and appeals to victims' stories to enrich the philosophy of human rights.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Chapter 1: Two Victim Paradigms and the Problem of
1. Two Victim Paradigms
A. The Pathetic Victim Paradigm
B. The Heroic Victim Paradigm
2. Controversial - A. Trafficked Sex Workers
B. Death Row Inmates
3. Parameters of Innocence
A. Getting Real about Innocence
B. The Victim Paradigms Revisited
C. Reconceiving the Innocence of Victims
4. Reclaiming Victim Discourse
Chapter 2: Narrative Structures, Narratives of Abuse, And Human Rights
1. The Amsterdam/Bruner Account of Narrative
2. Narrative Regimentation, Social Exclusion, and Truth Forfeiture
3. Hayden White's Account of Narrative and Closure
4. Spelman's Account of Normativity in a Victim's Story
5. Strejilevich's Skepticism about Normativity in Victims' Stories
6. Varieties of Moral Closure
7. Moral Closure without Moral Resolution
Chapter 3: Learning from Victims' Stories: The Promise and Problems of Emotional Understanding
1. Narrative Artifice: Arbitrary and Non-Rational?
2. Affective Intelligence and Moral Understanding
3. Scenes from a Child Soldier's Story
4. Imaginative Resistance to a Child Soldier's Story
5. Emotionally Understanding a Child Soldier's Story
6. Humanitarianism, Human Rights, and Affective Understanding
Chapter 4: Empathy and the Meanings of Human Rights in Human Lives
1. Peter Goldie's Critique of Empathy
2. A Conception of Empathy for Moral Philosophy
3. Why Empathy Is (Isn't) a Moral Power
A. Empathy and Altruistic Action
B. Empathy and Moral Understanding
4. Empathy, Embodiment, and Suffering
5. A Woman in Berlin Eight Weeks in the Conquered City
6. Empathy, Victims' Stories, and Human Rights
Chapter 5: The Ethics and Politics of Putting Victims' Stories to Work
1. The Problem of Victim Derogation and Blaming
2. The Ethics of Using Victims' Stories to Promote Human Rights
A. Aid and Research Projects
B. Justice Projects
3. Ethical Politics: Civil Society and Advancing Human Rights
A. Ethical Practices Within Human Rights Groups
B. Ethical Relations Among Human Rights NGOs
4. Concluding Reflections