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Human Rights and the Borders of SufferingThe Promotion of Human Rights in International Politics$
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Anne Brown

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780719061059

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719061059.001.0001

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(p.198) 7 Conclusion
Human Rights and the Borders of Suffering

M. Anne Brown

Manchester University Press

This book has explored the promotion of human rights practices and approaches in international life. It has argued for a shift in approach—a greater preparedness to reflect on some of the categories by which we construct our sense of human rights and some acknowledgment of the limits of our understanding, or even of our ignorance, of the complex life to which these categories, particularly that of the human, refer. This way of conceptualising human rights has provided a remarkably powerful framework for the characterisation of both the individual and political community and for the identification of abuse. Moreover, it has to a significant extent shaped the terms in which general debate over human rights in international politics has been repeatedly cast, particularly the polarity of universalism and relativism, of the ‘rights of man’ and the citizen's rights, and of political and economic (or social or cultural) rights. Human rights practices are not part of a progression to perfection, or its approximation, but a way of working with the systemic generation of suffering.

Keywords:   human rights, international life, political community, abuse, suffering, universalism, relativism, international politics, citizens' rights, rights of man

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