Exercising rights into existence: new human rights strategies by Third World peoples

Date

2013

Authors

Lamchek, Jayson

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Taylor & Francis Group

Abstract

This article suggests that a critical Third World approach to human rights does not have to be reduced to scepticism, but should rather incite a pragmatic sensibility towards the use of rights talk in struggles of Third World peoples. Two examples of collective struggles are considered: in the first, involving indigenous people in Chiapas, Mexico, a human rights vocabulary is redeployed in such a way as to escape state capture; in the second, involving undocumented migrant workers in the US state of Tennessee and in the Netherlands, rights talk is avoided in order to maximise the chances of obtaining rights. I argue that both cases illustrate a route to rights based on a performative ontology or exercise-based theory of human rights that eschews the need for state recognition or the existence of a receiver or verifier of claims or expressions for rights to exist. The view that there is no better evidence of the existence of human rights than their exercise or enjoyment radically adjusts rights talk by countering the state’s claimed monopoly to legal authorship or production and locates a realm of power and law in people’s actions and practices.

Description

Keywords

Citation

Source

Asian Studies Review

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1080/1323-238X.2013.11882122

Restricted until

2099-12-31