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Tag Archives: Critique of Human Rights

Human Rights

Human Rights


The Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London invites you to

Massimiliano Tomba (University ofPadua) 

A Contribution to the Critique of Human Rights

21 May 2012

Richard Hoggart Building, Room 137



Human rights are in crisis. Their crisis does not depend on their violations in particular states of emergency which interrupt the ‘normal’ course of the liberal-democratic state. Rather, I consider this crisis as something that is deeply rooted in the nature of human rights. Taking into account the problem of human rights and their protection in a unique constellation that includes the concepts of ‘power’, ‘rights’ and ‘subjects of right’, I will consider them and their crisis not as a deviation from a supposed progressive development of democracy but as an expression of the aporia of political modernity.

From this perspective I consider the increasing of violations of human rights not as an exception but as the consequent expression of the aporia of political modernity. Crisis therefore is not something that happens in the course of modernity but is rather the course as such, ever since the birth of modern political concepts. Rethinking human rights today means considering them beyond the horizon of their crisis: not as the rights of ‘bare life’ but setting out from ‘just life’.


‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon:  


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