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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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Rights as Trumps and the Quest for Certainty

Rights as Trumps and the Quest for Certainty

(p.24) 2 Rights as Trumps and the Quest for Certainty
Making Rights Claims

Karen Zivi

Oxford University Press

Working with and against the arguments of Dworkin, Ignatieff, and Sen, this chapter argues that contemporary liberal and deliberative democratic conceptions of rights fail to fully capture the performativity, and thus the democratic character, of the practice of rights claiming. It sheds light on the investment such perspectives have in assuring the felicity or successful outcome of a rights claim, and suggests that this investment is evident in an ongoing tendency to treat rights claims as trumps or claims that bring an end to a particular contest. In other words, this chapter suggests that traditional liberal and recent deliberative democratic defences of rights claiming go awry to the extent that they treat rights claims almost exclusively as illocutionary utterances.

Keywords:   liberal rights, deliberative democracy, felicity, trumps, performativity, illocutionary utterances

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