Human Rights – Human Bodies? Some Reflections on Corporate Human Rights Distortion,The Legal Subject, Embodiment and Human Rights Theory

Law and Critique 17 (2):171-199 (2006)
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This paper responds to the subversion of international human rights discourse by corporations. It begins by placing such subversion in three contexts: the ascendance of human rights as the dominant discourse of contemporary moral and political life; the emerging challenges to human rights posed by other-than-natural-human entities; and ambiguity in the relationship between the legal subject and the human being. The author suggests that in order to resist corporate human rights distortion it is important to reclaim the language of the human for the natural human being, despite complex philosophical and definitional challenges attending the designation of the term ‘human.’ The author suggests that by re-attending to the implications of human embodiment for human rights theory it might be possible to re-invigorate the protective potential of human rights for vulnerable human beings and communities against powerful disembodied legal persons.



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