Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Law School

Human rights and radical democracy after Tahrir Square Seminar

3 May 2011

Event details

Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation (CLEG) seminar

Starting from the traditional critiques of human rights, this paper asks whether it is possible to escape the statist and individualistic presuppositions inherent in that discourse. There is a difference at the heart of human rights – two poles of thought, brought together in an irresolvable tension. On one side is the kratos (force) of the demos (the ‘people’), and on the other is the limitation of law. Human rights, at least in the last twenty years, have imagined themselves overwhelmingly in the latter camp. Norm-setting, international supervision and juridification in general have been the order of the day. However, this emphasis tends to forget the other pole of human rights – that is as a tool of political rupture and an opening of different modes of being-together. This is what Egypt shows, along with a variety of other instances of resistance to authoritarian regimes. But this is not a paper about the events in Egypt. I cannot speak for those heterogeneous moments, instead I want to suggest that the multiple uses of human rights in radical democratic movements provide a supplement to our traditional understandings of the juridical discourse.

Speaker information

Dr Illan Rua Wall , Oxford Brookes University . Senior lecturer in Law

Privacy Settings