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The Right to Have Rights

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Five leading thinkers on the concept of ‘rights’ in an era of rightlessness

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 center 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.

Author: Moyn Samuel
Publisher: VERSO
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781784787547
Cover: Hardback
Edition Number: 1
Release Year: 2017

Samuel Moyn is Professor of Law and Professor of History at Yale University. His interests range widely over international law, human rights, the laws of war, and legal thought in both historical and contemporary perspective. He has published several books and writes in venues such as Boston Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Dissent, The Nation, New Republic, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal.

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