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The Politics of Moral Authority

Hopgood, Stephen (2007) The Politics of Moral Authority. London, UK: School of Oriental and African Studies. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

What is at stake, politically, in abandoning claims that one's actions are legitimized by some form of transcendent authority? Analysing this question moves us beyond human rights debates about foundationalism, and asks whether the efficacy of claims made by human rights advocates is undermined by their inability, conceptually and politically, to make the case that human rights are moral truths rather than a more temporal and secular doctrine. Through an analysis of Amnesty International and its ambivalent grounding in Kantian notions of morality, and by considering competing religious and national claims to authority, I assess whether or not human rights activism suffers from an inescapable political ineptitude that must eventually see it decline in the face of more ardent and politically effective authority claims.

Item Type: Monographs (Working Paper)
Keywords: Human rights, Amnesty International, Kant, moral authority, political authority
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
Depositing User: Stephen Hopgood
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2007
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/183

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