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Democracy and Its Institutions$
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André Béteille

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198080961

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198080961.001.0001

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Can Rights Undermine Trust?

Can Rights Undermine Trust?

How Institutions Work and Why They Fail

(p.99) 5 Can Rights Undermine Trust?
Democracy and Its Institutions

André Béteille

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the importance of rights in social life and the social significance of trust. It argues that rights and trust are both indispensable constituents of collective life, and that no society can function without an acknowledged distribution of rights among its constituent members. It discusses rights and trust in the context of the family and universities in India. It contends that both rights and trust must be viewed not in isolation but in their dialectical relationship with one another in order to get a better sense of each. The chapter focuses on institutions which are social arrangements of a particular kind. It also describes rights and citizenship, the emergence of ‘rights activists’, who typically operate through non-governmental organizations, and the distinction between civil rights and the rights claimed by or on behalf of particular sections of the population such as women, the minorities, and the backward castes.

Keywords:   rights, trust, India, family, universities, social life, institutions, citizenship, civil rights, non-governmental organizations

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