CFP: The Power of Rights and/​or the Rights of Power in Global Politics, 5 – 8 June 2013, Tartu, Estonia

Call for Proposals: 1st European Workshops for International Studies (EWIS)
5 – 8 June 2013, Tartu, Estonia


Workshop 12:

The Power of Rights and/​or the Rights of Power in Global Politics

Convenors: Louiza Odysseos and Anna Selmeczi

While de­tractors of human rights have long ar­gued that they form the moral and in­tel­lec­tual key­stone of a lib­eral he­ge­mony, their pro­ponents have countered that ‘human rights are meant to be good news for the un­der­priv­ileged, the down­trodden, and the dis­pos­sessed’ (Dallmayr), his­tor­ic­ally de­marc­ating the growing power of the king and, later, the state and today en­abling the politics of res­ist­ance in sym­bolic, dis­cursive and legal terms. This pro­posed work­shop seeks to com­bine the­or­et­ical dis­cus­sions and em­pir­ical ex­am­in­a­tions to ex­plore how human rights are es­sen­tial to both the susten­ance of he­ge­mony and to the politics of res­ist­ance in global politics. The work­shop will ex­amine how human rights in­stru­ments and dis­courses aim to cur­tail power while often le­git­im­ating and re­in­for­cing its op­er­a­tions in dis­tinct polit­ical and eth­ical ways. It will fa­cil­itate dis­cus­sions ex­ploring how rights ‘en­able dis­cip­linary pro­jects’ (Golder) by chan­neling prac­tices of res­ist­ance into legal frame­works that de­limit cam­paigns for justice. Central to its ob­ject­ives is to as­sess how human rights also provide op­por­tun­ities for chal­len­ging such pro­jects of power, op­por­tun­ities that are grounded on a re­thinking of hu­manity as the ‘com­munity of the gov­erned’ un­der­stood within the his­tory of colonialism.

A number of scholars have ex­pressed in­terest in in­ter­rog­ating this im­portant dualism of human rights. The work­shop there­fore would gen­erate dis­cus­sions about the emer­gence of human rights’ sub­jectiv­ities and dis­courses within struggles to­wards eman­cip­a­tion that have had varying suc­cess in chal­len­ging preex­isting power re­la­tions, for ex­ample, in the re­cent waves of protest in the Middle East. Other po­ten­tial con­tri­bu­tions would ana­lyse how neo­lib­eral tech­no­lo­gies of gov­erning use the dis­courses of human worth to dis­cip­line human rights in cases of im­mig­ra­tion; how the ten­sion between human and pos­itive rights in­cites res­ist­ance prac­tices by polit­ical sub­jects in the case of un­doc­u­mented mi­grants; how, in varied geo­graph­ical loc­a­tions such as India, South Africa, Italy and Mexico, neo­lib­eral gov­ern­mental ra­tion­al­ities deny the sub­jectivity of the rights-​bearing cit­izen to the poor; how direct ac­tion by act­iv­ists seeks to re­con­struct par­tic­ular rights as strategies of res­ist­ance, such as the right to housing in the midst of the global fin­an­cial crisis.

Please submit your 200 words ab­stract on­line through the EWIS web­site:

Deadline: 15 December 2012. Applicants will be no­ti­fied by 15 January 2013 about the out­come of the se­lec­tion process.

Looking for­ward to re­ceiving your submissions,

Louiza and Anna.

Dr Anna Selmeczi
Institute of Political and International Studies
Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest
Pázmány Péter sétány 1/​a.
H-​1117 Budapest
Email: annaselmeczi@​caesar.​elte.​hu
Phone: +36 30 201 4552

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