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The Rights of Others by Seyla Benhabib

The Rights of Others (2004)

by Seyla Benhabib

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Benhabib engages with traditional Western liberal thinkers to articulate a moderate cosmopolitan position from the perspective of democratic discourse ethics. Although she is at times incisive, notably in her critique of Rawls, at other times her arguments are rather weak. For instance, her misreading of Walzer makes it clear that she refuses to acknowledge that neither democracy nor human rights are culturally neutral or objectively universal. In several places, she forgoes the opportunity to challenge (and even re-inscribes the legitimacy of) the system of global capitalism which is an integral structural component of the inequalities and migratory patterns she is concerned about. ( )
  brleach | Jan 26, 2015 |
Benhabib argues that "those subject to the laws should also be their authors" and presents how that might become the case through implementation of what she calls "cosmopolitan federalism."

The book is very clearly written and well argued. I especially appreciate her descriptions of the paradox, which translates into conflicts on the ground, between the universality of human rights and the necessary territorial closure self-governing polity, which lies at the core of the very concept (and so every implementation) of liberal democracy. ( )
  steve.clason | Oct 17, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0521538602, Paperback)

This book explores the tension between universal principles of human rights and the self-determination claims of sovereign states as they affect the claims of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants. Drawing on the work of Kant's "cosmopolitan doctrine" and positions developed by Hannah Arendt, Seyla Benhabib explores how the topic has been analyzed within the larger history of political thought. She argues that many of the issues raised in abstract debate between universalism and multiculturalism can find acceptable solutions in practice.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:46 -0400)

"The Rights of Others examines the boundaries of political community by focusing on political membership - the principles and practices for incorporating aliens and strangers, immigrants and newcomers, refugees and asylum seekers, into existing polities. Boundaries define some as members, others as aliens. But when state sovereignty is becoming frayed, and national citizenship is unraveling, definitions of political membership become much less clear. In her Seeley Lectures, political theorist Seyla Benhabib makes a powerful plea, echoing Immanuel Kant, for moral universalism and cosmopolitan federalism. She advocates not open but porous boundaries, recognizing not only the admittance rights of refugees and asylum seekers, but also the regulatory rights of democracies. The Rights of Others is an intervention in contemporary political theory, of interest to students and specialists in politics, law, philosophy, and international relations."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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