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The Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights

Course Code: PUBLG075

Course Tutor: Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia (Department of Political Science)

Assessment: One 3,000 word essay

Credit Value: 15

About this course

This module links important and troubling questions about how we interpret human rights in law and policy with the theoretical underpinnings for those rights. Theoretical disputes are shown to have important repercussions for human rights practice. Students will study the normative frameworks that have been offered for human rights in political theory and legal philosophy, different theories of rights as well as different theoretical criticisms of human rights. The module seeks to give students an understanding of the point and purpose of human rights standards, as opposed to other standards like social fairness. This in turn will help them develop a view about what can appropriately be called a human right, what cannot, and what limits these rights have. They will be encouraged to develop analytical and critical argument-building skills and engage in analysis and debate in preparation for writing an essay that sets out a clear argument.

By the end of the course, students will:

  • understand why human rights theory is essential to informing the empirical and legal study of human rights
  • understand the main theories of human rights and the key arguments in favour and against for those theories
  • be able to present an argument for a view and be aware of possible responses
  • be able to apply human rights principles (and theories) to the interpretation and evaluation of human rights practice, law, and policy

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Page last modified on 16 sep 14 13:27

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