The Deterritorialization of Human Rights

By Ciomos, Virgil | Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

The Deterritorialization of Human Rights


Ciomos, Virgil, Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies


Abstract: The jurisdiction of Human Rights finds itself in a paradoxical situation for, on the one hand, these rights are affirmed as universal and, on the other, they emerged from within the boundaries of certain determinate states. That is why Western modernity is marked by a tension between the primary, determined territory proper to the emergence of human right and their universal, world calling. With regard to this tension the present study focuses on several key issues in our times: the deterritorialization of human rights and their progressive personalization; the redefinition of public space as the very interiorization of this deterritorialization; the "export" of certain national interests through manu military deterritorialization of the human rights but also of terrorism which, as the author of the present study argues, is actually the universalization of both terrorism and of its reverse - the creation of military bases "outside" any national jurisdiction.

Key words: human rights, jurisdiction, deterritorialization, state of exception, public space, democracy, cultural diversity

International politics and the territory of fundamental rights

"Europe and human rights" - here is a syntagm on the verge of synonymy. Europe - the continent of modern revolutions, the topos of a new form of citizenship;1 human rights - the same continent's espousal of what traditional wisdom once referred to as homo universalis.2 Notwithstanding all these, a certain - more or less explicit - tension operating between, on the one hand, the determinate territory of fundamental rights (which was initially confined to only several western nations), and, on the other hand, their universal, hence world, validity (aiming at a transnational political and juridical vocation) has been noticeable from the very beginning. More precisely, we are dealing here with a sort of conceptual chiasm between law itself - which, in order to be universally legitimate, must aspire towards universality - and its initial territoriality (i.e. jurisdiction) - which has been restricted to only a few states. This is a genuine challenge that is still impelling modern nations to "project" this new form of legitimacy (which, once again, is universal and, geopolitically, global) beyond their own frontiers.

We might therefore say that the universalization of human rights implicitly presupposes their own deterritorialization,3 that there is a certain dialectics (chiasmatic, again) "regulating" - in a rather paradoxical manner - the relations between fundamental rights and "their" primary territory:

- thesis - the law always emanates from a particular territory

- antithesis - the same law (which is meant to be universal) proves to be "indeterminate" as far as its initial territory is concerned

- synthesis - the return (conversion), as effectiveness, of the same "indeterminate" (because universal) law implies going beyond, transgressing its primary territory.

It goes without saying that this dialectical inference does not cancel the jurisdictional effectiveness inherent in fundamental rights. It is simply meant to highlight the fact that the jurisdiction of these rights entails - by its very operating modality - a second (symbolical) "territory": this is itself universal, a sort of "non-place" which is, "as such", invested (again symbolically) with the quality of being "improper" to any primary territory through the very operation of universalization, and hence globalisation, of the law itself. The return of modern law, which has thus been "deterritorialised," involves, therefore, a "reterritorialization" (of this very "indeterminate") which overrides the "purity" of the juridical domain, so as to integrate thus the political. In that sense, any statement bearing on human rights must be "universal." "Cosmo-politism" and "fraternity" engage here - as the subject of law - a veritable "citizen of the universe," a "universalized" subject, that is. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Deterritorialization of Human Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.