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The Human Right to Dominate$
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Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199365012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199365012.001.0001

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Human Rights as Domination

Human Rights as Domination

(p.1) Introduction Human Rights as Domination
The Human Right to Dominate

Nicola Perugini

Neve Gordon

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter problematizes the linear narrative of global redemption through human rights by analyzing the relationship between human rights and domination. Defining domination as a relationship of subjugation characterized by the use of force and coercion, the authors show how actors with different agendas, ideals, and beliefs launch similar types of campaigns articulated through the language of human rights in order to advance opposed political objectives. The chapter argues that precisely because human rights have no essential core, they can be appropriated in various ways and can potentially acquire new political meanings, which may invert already existing ones. Within the current context of convergences, mirroring, and inversions, the instrumentalist conception of human rights—according to which conservatives or militaries deploy human rights merely as a pretext for attaining other political objectives—is revealed to be both empirically and theoretically flawed.

Keywords:   Amnesty International, human rights NGOs, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, conservative NGOs, domination, convergence, mirroring, inversion

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