“Chapter Three: What Must Be in Place for Someone to Believe in Human Rights?” in Democracy as Fetish: Rhetoric, Ethnography, and the Expansion of Life GCP-10-5

Ralph Cintron

In this chapter of his book length-manuscript, Cintron analyzes classic documents from the history of human rights and classic commentaries on rights. He argues that rights talk, both legal and informal versions, is a metaphorical method for describing primal necessities and entitlements. Rights talk tries to settle, but ultimately cannot, the ambiguity between primal necessity/entitlement and “mere” want. Rights, then, are not substantive but a way of speaking and ultimately a way of inciting action.

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