Vulnerability and Human Rights
Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006 - 156 pagini
In the twentieth century, the mass violence of the two world wars followed more recently by the decentralization and privatization of warfare--manifested in terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and other localized forms of killing--have led to a heightened awareness of human being's vulnerability to suffering and the precarious nature of the institutions they create to protect themselves from violence and exploitation. As something they all share amid the diversity of cultural beliefs and values that mark their differences, this common vulnerability provides a ground on which to construct a framework of human rights. Bryan Turner undertakes this task here, developing a sociology of rights from a sociology of the human body. His blending of empirical research with normative analysis constitutes an important step forward for the discipline of sociology, which (like anthropology) has traditionally eschewed the study of justice as beyond the limits of a discipline that pays homage to cultural relativism and the "value neutrality" of positivistic science. This expanded approach accordingly involves a truly interdisciplinary dialogue with the literature of economics, law, medicine, philosophy, political science, and religion. In arguing for a recognition of human rights as ontologically grounded in shared vulnerability, Turner pays special attention to the complex relationships among the state, the social rights of citizens that the state creates, and the human rights of persons as individuals. The conflict between national sovereignty and the universalistic claims of human rights is central to the struggle over human rights today, he shows, but while the protection offered by states and citizenshiphas been declining, they nevertheless remain important for the enforcement of human rights.
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