A critical engagement with the social and political consequences of human rights: the contribution of the affective turn and posthumanism
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Responding to human rights critiques, this article draws on some of the literature in the affective turn and posthumanism to critique the liberal framework as well as the moral superiority of humanism on which the human rights regime has been built. Both the affective turn and posthumanism – although not monolithic – are based on two important premises that favour an agonistic account of rights: the first is that human beings are regarded in social and relational rather than in atomistic terms or as individuals without connections. Secondly, a reading of human rights through perspectives of the affective turn and posthumanism highlights a critical posthumanist engagement with human rights, conducted in the name of an unfinished and ambiguous humanity connected to other sentient beings and the environment, rather than a singular or absolute political identity of humanity. This reading recognises the social, economic and political consequences of human rights and thus their potential to upset the dominant social, economic and political order, rather than accepting human rights as universal norms of social life while ignoring the ideological frame in which they are exercised.