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The Limits of Human Rights$
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Bardo Fassbender and Knut Traisbach

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198824756

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198824756.001.0001

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Political Limits of International Human Rights

Political Limits of International Human Rights

A Response (or a Rejoinder) to Christian Reus-Smit

(p.137) 8 Political Limits of International Human Rights
The Limits of Human Rights

Başak Çalı

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the political limits of international human rights, but disagrees with the realist international relations and the Western hegemony approaches as to how we may locate and problematize such limits. A key objection that the chapter makes to realists and the Western hegemony approach is their static conception of human rights. Contrary to the view that human rights is a gift of Western powers to the rest, the chapter proposes to conceive contemporary human rights as a multiple authored transnational practice that challenges power not only in the rest but also in the West. Yet, human rights, conceived in this dynamic and transformative way, are not free from political limits. Limits to contemporary human rights can best be located in two places: the majoritarian objection to human rights domestically and the global resistance to regulate corporate powers for human rights abuses.

Keywords:   international relations realism, Western hegemony, modern human rights, contemporary human rights, backlash to human rights, corporate power, human rights courts

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