Rightlessness in an Age of Rights

Paperback | January 5, 2015

byAyten Gundogdu

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There have been remarkable developments in the field of human rights in the past few decades. Still, millions of asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented immigrants continue to find it challenging to access human rights. In this book, Ayten Gundogdu builds on Hannah Arendt's analysis ofstatelessness and argues that these challenges reveal the perplexities of human rights. Human rights promise equal personhood regardless of citizenship status, yet their existing formulations are tied to the principle of territorial sovereignty. This situation leaves various categories of migrants in a condition of "rightlessness," with a very precarious legal, political, and humanstanding. Gundogdu examines this problem in the context of immigration detention, deportation, and refugee camps. Critical of the existing system of human rights without seeing it as a dead end, she argues for the need to pay closer attention to the political practices of migrants who challengetheir condition of rightlessness and propose new understandings of human rights. What arises from this critical reflection on human rights is also a novel reading of Arendt, one that offers refreshing insights into various dimensions of her political thought, including her account of the human condition, "the social question," and "the right to have rights." Rightlessness in anAge of Rights is a valuable addition to the literature on Hannah Arendt and a vital way of rethinking human rights as they relate to contemporary issues of immigration.

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There have been remarkable developments in the field of human rights in the past few decades. Still, millions of asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented immigrants continue to find it challenging to access human rights. In this book, Ayten Gundogdu builds on Hannah Arendt's analysis ofstatelessness and argues that these challenges r...

Ayten Gundogdu is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Barnard College-Columbia University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:January 5, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199370427

ISBN - 13:9780199370429

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Human Rights across Borders1. Perplexities of Human Rights2. Human Rights as Politics and Anti-politics3. Borders of Personhood4. Expulsion from Politics and Humanity5. Declarations of A Right to Have RightsConclusion: The Struggle Remains UndecidedNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Bristling with insights into the plight of migrants in today's global economy, Gundogdu's book offers a creative rereading of Hannah Arendt's controversial critique of human rights. She perceptively grasps that the key insight in Arendt's difficult notion of a 'right to have rights' is not toground rights in a normative foundation but to reanimate them as quotidian political practices of founding. In this way, Gundogdu offers a fresh response to the tenacious problems of rightlessness which at once includes and goes well beyond juridical appeals to the sovereign state." --Linda Zerilli, University of Chicago