Edited by Emilios Christodoulidis, Ruth Dukes and Marco Goldoni
Chapter 27: Nihilists, pragmatists and peasants: a dispatch on contradiction in international human rights law
This chapter engages theory to help human rights advocates see what they may not have seen before. It focuses on the new UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants, drawing on insights offered by one critical legal theory in particular – the commodity-form theory developed by the Soviet jurist Evgeny Pashukanis. It is through this lens that an analysis of the contradiction inherent in what is at times a radical normative project in developing international human rights law is presented. Here, critical legal theory helps reveal the paradoxes that have ostensible human rights successes perpetuate the suffering they seek to confront. The concluding section offers what appears to be the only solution to the conundrum that shows our most important human rights gains also to be our losses.
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