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Rights, Culture and the LawThemes from the Legal and Political Philosophy of Joseph Raz$
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Lukas H. Meyer, Stanley L. Paulson, and Thomas W. Pogge

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248254

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248254.001.0001

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Against Collective Rights

Against Collective Rights

(p.183) 11 Against Collective Rights
Rights, Culture and the Law


Oxford University Press

Collective rights, it is argued, are necessary to protect and promote the interests of members of minority groups. This latter claim is supported by theoretical and political arguments. The former suggest that unless bestowed upon a collective, the existence of some rights cannot be justified, while the latter assert that unless granted to a collective, some rights cannot be protected. This chapter argues that one can, and should, justify all rights in terms of individual rights. This does not imply that all the rights referred to as ‘collective rights’ can be reduced to individual rights. It is important to distinguish between rights and the political arrangements that ought to be put in place in order to defend and promote rights; the former ought to reflect the nature of moral and political agents, whereas the latter must take into account contingent limitations embedded in particular social and political circumstances. This chapter also discusses communal survival and violations of individual rights, collectives and associations, whether collectives can be rights-holders, and whether collective rights are indispensable.

Keywords:   collective rights, individual rights, collectives, associations, violations, communal survival, political arrangements

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