‘Agamben, Arendt and Human Rights: Bearing Witness to the Human’

Newman, Saul and Lechte, John. 2012. ‘Agamben, Arendt and Human Rights: Bearing Witness to the Human’. European Journal of Social Theory, [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The key theme in this essay is the rethinking the human as inspired by the work of Giorgio Agamben and Hannah Arendt. The human here is not a model or concept to be realised, just as community to which the human is linked is not an ideal, but a ‘community to come’. This is revealed only by paying close attention to modes of bearing witness to the human, as instanced, for example by Agamben’s text, Remnants of Auschwitz. Current notions of political community and the human thus need to be reassessed. Only by doing this will it be possible to address the crucial issues that currently confront human rights – issues such as the tension between the principle of universal human rights and that of state sovereignty, the growing problem of statelessness, and the reduction of human rights to biopolitical humanitarianism.

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Date Deposited:

29 Dec 2011 08:57

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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