Download Agamben and the Politics of Human Rights: Statelessness, by John Lechte PDF

By John Lechte

Can human rights guard the stateless? Or are they completely excluded from politics and condemned to "bare life"?Human rights are in challenge this day. in every single place one appears, there's violence, deprivation, and oppression, which human rights norms look powerless to avoid. This ebook investigates the roots of the present quandary throughout the considered Italian thinker, Giorgio Agamben. Human rights thought and perform needs to come to grips with key difficulties pointed out by means of Agamben - the violence of the sovereign country of exception and the relief of humanity to 'bare' lifestyles. Any renewal of human rights at the present time needs to contain breaking decisively with the normal coordinates of Western political proposal and in its place verify a brand new figuring out of existence and political motion.

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Additional info for Agamben and the Politics of Human Rights: Statelessness, Images, Violence

Sample text

AN EVALUATION OF ARENDT'S EUROPEAN ARGUMENT Before moving on to examine slavery as an example of the human in a condition of absolute servitude and necessity, we draw attention to the problematic nature of several points raised by Arendt in her discussion of 'public and private' in ancient Greece (Athens). First, let us address the daim that it is pointless beginningwith a notion of the hum an as such in defending human rights, because such a being is not fully human. One must start with the campaign for the 'right to have rights', that is, to be admitted into a political community.

The 'public sphere' is equivalent to political community. It is thus based in the legal structure of society and is constitutive of formaI equality, whereas the sphere of zoe is one of natural differences and inequalities. It is only in the public sphere that politicallife proper can take place and actors can experience freedom. Arendt also calls this sphere pure artifice and creativity. What is crucial here is that the public sphere must be dearly demarcated, if not totally cut off from the private sphere, lest the realm of necessity comes to destroy the public sphere' s basis in equality and freedom.

The key point is that for Arendt and the European/ Western tradition which she represents, there can be no freedOlTI or political action, no humanity in the fullest sense and no equality in the realm of necessity. The latter is always to be transcended. Arendt' s clearest statement of this is to be found in her discussion of ancient Greece in the chapter of The Human Condition devoted to the distinction between the public and private realms. Here, 'public' equates with 'polis' or politics and 'private' equates with the oikos or economy as household.

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