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Contents Contributors vii Acknowledgments x 1 Introduction to the Aporia of Rights: Explorations in Citizenship in the Era of Human Rights Anna Yeatman 1 2 “Perplexities of the Rights of Man”: Arendt on the Aporias of Human Rights Ayten Gündoğdu 13 3 The Multivocity of Human Rights Discourse Jeff Malpas 37 4 Neither Here nor There: The Conceptual Paradoxes of Immigrant and Asylee Resistance Robert W. Glover 53 5 Acts of Emancipation: Marx, Bauer, and “The Jewish Question” Charles Barbour 77 6 Must Democratic Rights Serve the Rights-Bearer? The Right to Vote of People with Severe Cognitive Impairments Ludvig Beckman 93 7 Performing Human Rights: The Meaning of Rights in the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Anthony J. Langlois 115 8 The Politics of Indigenous Human Rights in the Era of Settler State Citizenship: Legacies of the Nexus between Sovereignty, Human Rights, and Citizenship Danielle Celermajer 137 9 Revolutionary Declarations: The State of Right and the Right of Opposition Peg Birmingham 159.
Contributors Charles Barbour is senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Western Sydney. He has written over two dozen articles and book chapters, and works primarily in the fields of social, political, and legal theory. His monograph The Marx Machine was published in 2012. Ludvig Beckman is professor and deputy head at the Department of Political Science, Stockholm University (Sweden). His recent books include The Frontiers of Democracy, The Right to Vote and its Limits (Palgrave 2009), and The Territories of Citizenship (Palgrave 2012) (edited with Eva Erman). He has published widely on democratic boundaries, climate change and collective responsibility, democracy between generations, immigration and democratic rights, the rights of children, bodily privacy and genetics. He is editor-in-chief of Scandinavian Political Studies (together with Maritta Soininen) and series editor of Palgrave Studies in Citizenship Transitions (together with David Owen and Michele Micheletti).
Acknowledgments Most of the chapters in this book were first presented as papers in a workshop organized by Anna Yeatman for the Human Rights and Public Life program of the Whitlam Institute at the University of Sydney. Thanks are due to the University of Western Sydney, the director of the Whitlam Institute, Eric Sidoti, the senior program manager, Sandra Stevenson, as well as to Georgia Hannouch and Valerie Wilden for their various kinds of support for this workshop, and the writing project that came from it.
1 Introduction to the Aporia of Rights: Explorations in Citizenship in the Era of Human Rights Anna Yeatman The assumption that human rights and citizenship are two distinct orders of reality that frequently clash is commonplace today. In this approach citizenship is viewed in terms of a closed world of membership-based privilege, and human rights are viewed as the vehicle of asserting the claims of those who are excluded from this world, the refugee or stateless person being the central trope for this mode of thinking. This collection of essays challenges this mode of thinking. It suggests that citizenship and human rights are profoundly and necessarily co-implicated in the modern historical and conceptual discourse of subjective right. The human rights of the refugee cannot be asserted without simultaneously making a claim on the conception and practice of citizenship. This was of course the point that Hannah Arendt made in her idea of the right to have rights,” an idea frequently referred to in this collection. At the same time it becomes clear to anyone who attempts to make sense of this relationship of co-implication that it is complex, always contextually and thus historically specific, and aporetic.
2 “Perplexities of the Rights of Man”: Arendt on the Aporias of Human Rights Ayten Gündoğdu Writing after World War II, Hannah Arendt inquired into the challenges posed by massive scales of population displacements in the twentieth century, which rendered millions of people “stateless.” Those who were stateless, she argued, found themselves in a condition of rightlessness as they lost not only their citizenship rights but also their human rights (Arendt  1968, 281–2). Arendt identified a paradox in this precarious condition: Precisely when the stateless appeared as nothing more than human, it proved very difficult, if not impossible, for them to claim the allegedly inalienable rights they were entitled to by virtue of being born human. She took this paradox as a symptom of the “perplexities of the Rights of Man” and offered one of the most powerful criticisms of human rights.
Arendt on the Aporias of Human Rights 15 in The Origins of Totalitarianism and On Revolution, in the light of the discussion of Socratic aporetic inquiry. On the basis of this interpretive work, the third section analyzes the distinctive aspects of Arendt’s critique of human rights, particularly in response to the criticisms raised by Jacques Rancière. Read as an aporetic inquiry, Arendt’s critique does not attribute an inevitable destiny to the paradoxes of human rights. As different from more recent criticisms of human rights, especially the one offered by Giorgio Agamben, Arendt’s analysis attends to the multiple, equivocal, and contingent historical trajectories of these rights. Most importantly, it recognizes the possibility that the paradoxes of human rights can be politically navigated to contest inequality, as can be seen in Arendt’s analysis of the Dreyfus Affair and her rearticulation of “a right to have rights.” Aporetic thinking: Methodological orientations of Arendt’s critique Arendt’s critique of human rights takes its starting point from the puzzling condition of the stateless who found themselves deprived of not only citizenship rights but also human rights. Resisting the temptation to understand this troubling condition as “an unfortunate exception to an otherwise sane and normal rule” ( 1968, 267–8), Arendt analyzes it as a symptom of some paradoxes deeply embedded in human rights since their early formulations in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.
Arendt on the Aporias of Human Rights 19 Socratic dialogues: “‘The Rights of Man’: What are they?” Just like the everyday concepts that Socrates inquired into, the term “human rights” had become “slippery” (1978, 170): “[R]ecent attempts to frame a new bill of human rights have demonstrated that no one seems able to define with any assurance what these general human rights, as distinguished from the rights of citizens, really are” (1949, 26). More crucially, these attempts failed to attend to the one human right that the plight of the stateless seemed to reveal: “the right to belong to a political community,” or the right to have rights (1949, 37). In response to this problem, Arendt undertakes an aporetic inquiry that centers on the perplexities of human rights—one that engages in a rethinking so as to render the concept “meaningful again” (1949, 34).
26 The Aporia of Rights orders established to protect them. What is at stake here is an aporia that is characteristic of any politics of human rights: On the one hand, despite their prevailing conceptualization as abstract, natural, and inalienable rights, human rights are in need of intersubjective guarantees that can have some relative permanence only within an institutional structure. On the other hand, the institutions we establish for guaranteeing these rights can end up eroding them or rendering them ineffective. Arendt’s aporetic inquiry is characterized by this “antinomic” relationship, to use Étienne Balibar’s terms, between rights and institutions (Balibar 2007, 734).10 Her recognition of this antinomy in her discussion of several institutional forms renders her analysis relevant for contemporary readers interested in postnational and cosmopolitan possibilities.