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Human Rights and Violence: the Hope and the Fear of the Liberal World

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Use this URL to link or cite this item: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7906-1
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Title: Human Rights and Violence: the Hope and the Fear of the Liberal World
Author: Petman, Jarna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law, Public International LawThe Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights and Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Foundations of European Law and Polity Research
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: What a paradox human rights are. As positive legal enactments, they are the result of political bargaining and thus speak the language of rules, concrete and verifiable; but they also hold an intangible promise of the universally good that is not reducible to particular political communities, to time or place as such, they reach beyond the mere text of enacted rules and evoke the cosmopolitan purpose of those rules. This dual nature makes human rights strong and accounts for their extraordinary appeal. Because of the co-existence of two separate strands that challenge and threaten each other, however, there is a fundamental tension within rights. This ambivalence is but a reflection of the ambivalence prevailing in human societies. Acknowledging the irredeemability of such irresolution is one of the controlling ideas behind liberal democracies that accordingly accept pluralism as a form of organizing human co-existence. The problem is, though, that in the plurality of equal voices there can be no markers of certainty. This has important consequences for the way in which relations within liberal democracies are governed.

This thesis will offer a critical, albeit sympathetic, exploration of the conditions for and possibilities of practising and enforcing human rights with violence, if need be in a conceptual and professional world steeped in ambivalence. Because there can be no general solution to conflicts in which equal and yet different claims compete against each other, the thesis will argue, those who are in positions of power to decide are fundamentally at a loss and therefore fundamentally responsible. The crucial question is not whether we can remain certain that we are right, but whether we can remain responsible for the justice of our causes. This is where the hope and the fear of the liberal world reside.Väitöskirja analysoi ihmisoikeuksien hallinnoinnin mahdollisuuksia ja rajoja liberaalissa pluralismissa eli ristiriitaisuuksien maailmassa. Se pyrkii samalla selvittämään, miksi ihmisoikeuksien ja väkivallan dikotomia ei (myöskään) kansainvälisessä elämässä ole säännöin ratkaistavissa.
URI: URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7906-1
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/32805
Date: 2012-04-28
Copyright information: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
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