The Meanings of Rights: The Philosophy and Social Theory of Human Rights

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Does the apparent victory, universality and ubiquity of the idea of rights indicate that such rights have transcended all conflicts of interests and moved beyond the presumption that it is the clash of ideas that drives culture? Or has the rhetorical triumph of rights not been replicated in reality? The contributors to this book answer these questions in the context of an increasing wealth gap between the metropolitan elites and the rest, a chasm in income and chances between the rich and the poor, and walls which divide the comfortable middle classes from the 'underclass'. Why do these inequalities persist in our supposed human rights-abiding societies? In seeking to address the foundations, genealogies, meaning and impact of rights, this book captures some of the energy, breadth, power and paradoxes that make deployment of the language of human rights such an essential but changeable part of so many of our contemporary discourses.