I’m working on a other discussion question and need a sample draft to help me learn. Within Alma’s post, an important observation is made stating that although Human Rights involve characteristics and implications guaranteeing someone’s ability to exist with equal treatment, some explanations and definitions of Human Rights include various controversies. They mentioned one such controversy being the disruption of social order, and I would add that some groups of people (considered “dominant groups”) have an unfair advantage over those fighting for Human Rights. Due to the disruptive nature of Human Rights “Dominant groups often deny that the demands of oppressed populations are human rights demands at all, dismissing them instead as divisive forms of “identity politics” that seek to “shame,” “punish,” or “humiliate”- and ultimately “control” – the dominant group” (Goodhart, 2023, p. 67). Seeing as Human Rights are “treated as “above politics”, neutral or impartial standards specifying what counts as acceptable treatment of human beings” (Goodhart, 2023, p.49) I am left to wonder how a group can identify itself as dominant in the first place, taking power over what can be considered Human Rights, and would argue that this is one of the most pressing controversies facing Human rights in general. Alma did mention the fact that Human Rights often challenge these dominant groups, stating that they “…challenge prevailing social structures rooted in dominant forms of authority and [it] is used frequently by activists to build a “communicative counter-hegemony” that challenges dominant authorities and ideologies that justify power”. These dominant groups are most often politicians in places of high power, and the small but mighty wealthy sector of our population. It is unfortunate and important to note that the “elites often help to manufacture this kind of popular resentment toward oppressed and minoritized populations” (Goodhart, 2023, p.67). All this said, I find it challenging to really understand the true definition of Human Rights considering the controversies that present themselves in various forms around the subject. There are so many variables and contradicting definitions. However, this is understandable considering this is a growing field. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to utilize “better tools for identifying and measuring human rights performance and monitoring compliance with human rights obligations” (Goodhart, 2023, 1) and I can imagine this field of study will become more and more defined as concepts and ideas are expanded. References Goodhart, M. (2023). Human Rights: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.
In the discussion, Alma raises crucial points about the multifaceted nature of human rights and the controversies that surround their definitions and implications. This response delves deeper into these controversies and their implications for dominant groups, the challenge to prevailing social structures, and the evolving definition of human rights.
1. The Challenge of Disruption
Alma rightly highlights one controversy related to human rights: the potential disruption of social order (Goodhart, 2023). When oppressed populations demand their human rights, dominant groups often perceive it as a challenge to their authority. This raises the question of how dominant groups identify themselves and exert control over what constitutes human rights. This, indeed, is one of the most pressing controversies facing the human rights discourse.
2. Identifying Dominant Groups
Understanding how groups become dominant is essential in comprehending their influence over human rights definitions. Political power and economic affluence often propel groups into positions of dominance. These elites manipulate public sentiment by creating resentment toward oppressed and minoritized populations, perpetuating their dominance and control (Goodhart, 2023).
3. Human Rights as a Challenge
As Alma points out, human rights inherently challenge prevailing social structures rooted in dominant forms of authority. Activists use the concept of human rights to build a “communicative counter-hegemony,” which contests dominant authorities and ideologies that legitimize power imbalances (Goodhart, 2023).
4. Influence of Political Elites
Politicians and the wealthy elite significantly contribute to the controversies surrounding human rights. They often play a role in manufacturing popular resentment against oppressed groups, further complicating the discourse on human rights (Goodhart, 2023).
5. Evolving Definition
Despite these controversies, it is important to recognize that the definition of human rights is continually evolving. Over the years, scholars and practitioners have developed improved tools to identify, measure, and monitor human rights performance and compliance with human rights obligations. This ongoing refinement reflects the dynamic nature of human rights as a field of study (Goodhart, 2023).
Alma’s observations shed light on the complex and multifaceted nature of human rights, which inherently challenge dominant groups and prevailing social structures. The controversies surrounding human rights definitions are influenced by factors such as political power, economic disparities, and the role of elites. However, the evolving nature of this field offers hope for a more refined and comprehensive understanding of human rights in the future.
Goodhart, M. (2023). Human Rights: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.
1. What is the controversy surrounding the definition of human rights?
- The controversy surrounding the definition of human rights relates to various interpretations and implications of these rights. It includes debates on disrupting social order and the influence of dominant groups in defining human rights.
2. How do dominant groups exert control over the definition of human rights?
- Dominant groups often hold political and economic power, allowing them to influence the definition of human rights. They may shape public opinion and manufacture resentment towards oppressed groups.
3. What role do activists play in the human rights discourse?
- Activists use the concept of human rights to challenge prevailing social structures rooted in dominant authority. They aim to build a “communicative counter-hegemony” that questions established power structures and ideologies.
4. How do political elites contribute to controversies surrounding human rights?
- Political elites often play a role in generating popular resentment against oppressed populations. This manipulation of public sentiment adds complexity to discussions about human rights.
5. Is there hope for a clearer definition of human rights in the future?
- Yes, the field of human rights is continually evolving. Scholars and practitioners are developing better tools to identify, measure, and monitor human rights performance. This ongoing refinement reflects the dynamic nature of the human rights discourse.