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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 Claiming as a Practice of Persuasion

Rights Claiming as a Practice of Persuasion

(p.43) 3 Rights Claiming as a Practice of Persuasion
Making Rights Claims

Karen Zivi

Oxford University Press

This chapter suggests that we need to think of rights claims as claims of persuasion rather than as trumping claims, a shift that involves more fully appreciating them as perlocutionary utterances that have uncertain effects. It draws on the work of Arendt to develop an understanding of persuasion as a performative political practice that recognizes the plurality of individual perspectives and the impossibility of definitive political outcomes. It then explore J.S. Mill’s rights theory and politics to illustrate what a persuasive politics of rights looks like and to reveal its democratic potential. It thus challenges those traditional readings of Mill that interpret him as advancing a liberal individualism at odds with democratic values and practices.

Keywords:   persuasion, Hannah Arendt, J.S. Mill, atomistic individualism, perlocutionary utterances

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