The Politics of the Human (The Seeley Lectures)

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9781107475830: The Politics of the Human (The Seeley Lectures)

The human is a central reference point for human rights. But who or what is that human? And given its long history of exclusiveness, when so many of those now recognised as human were denied the name, how much confidence can we attach to the term? This book works towards a sense of the human that does without substantive accounts of 'humanity' while also avoiding their opposite - the contentless versions that deny important differences such as race, gender and sexuality. Drawing inspiration from Hannah Arendt's anti-foundationalism, Phillips rejects the idea of 'humanness' as grounded in essential characteristics we can be shown to share. She stresses instead the human as claim and commitment, as enactment and politics of equality. In doing so, she engages with a range of contemporary debates on human dignity, humanism, and post-humanism, and argues that none of these is necessary to a strong politics of the human.

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Book Description:

The human figures today as a central reference point for human rights, humanitarianism, and global justice. But who or what is that human? This book rejects accounts in terms of core characteristics, and argues for an understanding of the human as a claim and commitment to equality.

About the Author:

Anne Phillips is Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science at London School of Economics and Political Science. Her first major work, The Enigma of Colonialism (1989), was based on analysis of colonial policy in British West Africa, but virtually all her subsequent teaching, research, and publications is in the field of political theory, and more specifically of feminist political theory. She has written about issues of equality and difference, democracy and representation, multiculturalism and gender, bodies and property, but with equality always the recurring theme. Publications include Engendering Democracy (1991), co-winner of the American Political Science Association's Award for Best Book on Women and Politics; The Politics of Presence (1995); Which Equalities Matter? (1999); Multiculturalism without Culture (2007); and Our Bodies, Whose Property? (2013). Her work has been translated into French, Spanish, German, Swedish, Turkish, Croatian, Slovenian, Chinese and Korean. Anne Phillips was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003 and of the UK Academy of Social Sciences in 2012, and holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Aalborg and Bristol.

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