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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

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Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Human Rights as Social Construction

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ISBN13: 9781107612945
Published: May 2013
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: Price on Application

Most conceptions of human rights rely on metaphysical or theological assumptions that construe them as possible only as something imposed from outside existing communities. Most people, in other words, presume that human rights come from nature, God or the United Nations.

This book argues that reliance on such putative sources actually undermines human rights. Benjamin Gregg envisions an alternative; he sees human rights as locally developed, freely embraced and indigenously valid. Human rights, he posits, can be created by the average, ordinary people to whom they are addressed and that they are valid only if embraced by those to whom they would apply. To view human rights in this manner is to increase the chances and opportunities that more people across the globe will come to embrace them.

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Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Part I. This-Worldly Norms, Local Not Universal:
1. Human rights: political not theological
2. Human rights: political not metaphysical
3. Generating universal human rights out of local norms

Part II. This-Worldly Resources for Human Rights as Social Construction:
4. Cultural resources: individuals as authors of human rights
5. Neurobiological resources: emotions and natural altruism in support of human rights

Part III. This-Worldly Means of Advancing the Human-Rights Idea:
6. Translating human rights into local cultural vernaculars
7. Advancing human rights through cognitive re-framing

Part IV. Human Rights, Future Tense: Human Nature and Political Community Reconceived:
8. Human rights via human nature as cultural choice
9. The human-rights state

Part V. Coda:
10. What is lost, and what gained, by human rights as social construction.