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Making Rights ClaimsA Practice of Democratic Citizenship$
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Karen Zivi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199826414

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199826414.001.0001

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From Rights to Rights Claiming

From Rights to Rights Claiming

(p.3) 1 From Rights to Rights Claiming
Making Rights Claims

Karen Zivi

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces readers to the key debates about the relationship between rights and democracy that are explored throughout the work as a whole as well as to the philosophical framework that is developed to defend rights as a valuable language of democratic politics. Identifying several philosophical and political problems that have rendered rights a suspect language of democratic contestation, it makes the case for re-examining the relationship between rights and democracy rather than either too quickly dismissing or too heartily defending rights as consistent with democracy. The chapter draws on insights from speech act theory and democratic theory to develops a performative perspective on rights claiming and suggests that the democratic character of rights, their potential and their limits, becomes more visible when we understand rights as a performative utterances that shape as well as reflect our identity, our communities, and our understanding of politics. This chapter thus sets out the meaning of key terms, such as rights, rights claiming, and performativity, and establishes the importance of appreciating what speech act theorists call the perlocutionary rather than simply the illocutionary dimensions of speech acts.

Keywords:   rights, democracy, democratic politics, performative utterances, speech act theory

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