Archive | October 2015

Can mainstreaming challenge the liberal legacy in human rights?

Human rights as understood in global politics are a product of liberal political philosophy and thought[1]. They come with a philosophical pedigree that extends back to the enlightenment and further[2]. This pedigree however means they were constructed by a particular class of humans, namely Caucasian European men of reasonable wealth and education, and that people of different cultures, sexes and (dis)abilities were not part of this formational period. Thus human rights can be criticised for this legacy as privileging the experience of this class of humans over others, that is they protect humans from the types of violations that would be experienced by Caucasian men and ignore potential violations they are not exposed to because of their privileged position in society[3].

In this essay I will attempt to show how human rights are a malleable tool which can challenge this liberal legacy through the use of concerted efforts to ‘mainstream’ the experiences of other identities by handing over the application of rights to minorities in specific contexts. Read More…