The Right to Have Rights-9781784787554

The Right to Have Rights

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Sixty years ago, the political theorist Hannah Arendt, an exiled Jew deprived of her German citizenship, observed that before people can enjoy any of the "inalienable" Rights of Man-before there can be any specific rights to education, work, voting, and so on-there must first be such a thing as "the right to have rights". The concept received little attention at the time, but in our age of mass deportations, Muslim bans, refugee crises, and extra-state war, the phrase has become the centre of a crucial and lively debate. Here five leading thinkers from varied disciplines-including history, law, politics, and literary studies-discuss the critical basis of rights and the meaning of radical democratic politics today.

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