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Exile, Statelessness, and Migration$
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Seyla Benhabib

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691167251

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691167251.001.0001

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From the “Right to Have Rights” to the “Critique of Humanitarian Reason”

From the “Right to Have Rights” to the “Critique of Humanitarian Reason”

(p.101) 6 From the “Right to Have Rights” to the “Critique of Humanitarian Reason”
Exile, Statelessness, and Migration

Seyla Benhabib

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores Jacques Rancière's trenchant critique of Hannah Arendt, after briefly recalling Arendt's discussion of the right to have rights. It shows how Rancière not only misreads Arendt, but much of what he defends as the necessary enactment of rights is quite compatible with an Arendtian understanding of political agency. The chapter then turns to the quandaries of “humanitarian reason,” in Didier Fassin's felicitous phrase. To address them, the chapter calls for a new conceptualization of the relationship between international law and emancipatory politics; a new way of understanding how to negotiate the facticity and the validity of the law, including international humanitarian law, such as to create new vistas for the political.

Keywords:   Jacques Rancière, Hannah Arendt, rights, political agency, humanitarian reason, Didier Fassin, international law, emancipatory politics

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