Can a marxist believe in human rights?

Boyd, C. (2009) Can a marxist believe in human rights? Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 37(4), pp. 579-600. (doi: 10.1080/03017600903205732)

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This article seeks to highlight an old question which has a renewed importance in light of the contemporary domination of emancipatory politics by the human rights discourse. In it I examine the nature of the concept which we call 'human rights' and the objections to its validity which Marxists commonly raise. It pays particular attention to the ambiguity in the Marxist treatment of the human rights discourse, the difference between the general concept and the current liberal conception which dominates, and the role of law where human rights are theorised as legally protected political claims. I argue that the question is more complex than it first appears and that seeking too simple an answer may run the risk of inadvertently replacing Marxist critique with a distinctly a-critical dogmatism.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Liberal Conception, Human Rights, Emancipation, Law, Marxist Critique, Ambiguity
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:UNSPECIFIED
Authors: Boyd, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory
ISSN (Online):1748-8605
Published Online:01 January 2009

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