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1.1 Framing nature using language tools

By framing, I mean the structures and pre-assumptions that we consciously or unconsciously apply to a situation in order to make sense of it. So are there any differences between the way in which we frame nature in caring for environment and the way in which we frame it to provide accountability? What significance might this have, and what tools might be used to bridge the responsibilities of caring and accountability?

Caring for environment makes manifest the informal aspects of
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1.4.3 It's all down to connections

For Iris Marion Young, the responsibility of those in North America and Europe towards distant others does indeed rest with their connections to injustices elsewhere, but it would be a mistake to stretch this line of reasoning too far. Although these connections, whether as a consumer, boardroom executive or shop manager, can establish a line of responsibility, as was claimed in Section 3.1, for Young this is only the starting point and not the end point of our involvement. We do not have to
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2.2.3 Ecological economics

Ecological economics, which formally came to prominence in the mid-1980s, represents a departure from reliance on the use of mainstream economic modelling. Instead, it branches out to actively engage with and incorporate the ethical, social and behavioural dimensions of environmental issues. In short, ecological economics attempts to provide an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues, whereas environmental economics maintains the primacy of economic modelling.

Mark Sag
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2.4 Summarising conversation as what matters

Brian Wynne suggests that fundamental dichotomies associated with environmental matters underpin modern society – society versus nature, the social versus the natural, social knowledge versus natural knowledge, expert knowledge versus lay knowledge (1996, p. 45). The metaphor of conversation helps to move us beyond these dichotomous constructs and allows us to focus more on the integral relationships enmeshed in nature matters, relationships that I would argue are central to environmental r
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1.2 Connecting human and non-human nature

Environmental responsibility – caring and generating accountability – requires interaction between human and non-human nature. For example, from a caring perspective what matters in climate change might constitute, say, the continued existence and protection of an arctic wilderness (Figure 3). But this necessarily involves a conn
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • appreciate different connotations and traditions of the terms ‘nature’ and ‘environment’ in the context of environmental responsibility

  • use conversation as a core metaphor for describing ‘what matters’ in environmental responsibility

  • identify and compare formal and less formal expressions of environmental responsibility.


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3.1 Types of incident

Now we can progress to an examination of some incidents by studying selected reports and publications.

Returning to the word ‘accident’, we can cite another definition:

An accident is an undesired event which results in physical harm and/or property damage. It usually results from a contact with a source of energy above the threshold limit of the body or structure.

(Kuhlman, 1977, p. 5)


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5.8 Review of criticisms of international rights

Activity 1

Review the four criticisms of rights at the international level discussed in the previous sections.

  1. Identify which of these criticisms are objections in principle to
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5.7 Relating individual rights to state sovereignty

The fourth set of problems is really a specific example of the third set and relates to the ways in which individual rights relate to state sovereignty. The Millennium Conference of the UN in 2000 endorsed the need for people-centred changes to the institution and renounced its previous ‘state-centred’ structure. The human-centred logic of rights regards human rights as a value which places legitimate constraints upon the politics of national self-interest and interstate competition. Chan
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5.6 Against whom are rights claims made?

The third set of problems relates to whom the rights claims are made against, and what kinds of claims can be made. In the case of individual human rights, a rights claim is usually addressed to or claimed against the legal order of the state. However, it is often one of the problems at the international level that either the state claimed against does not recognise the claim, or that the body claimed against is not a state (that is, a political entity that is in some sense morally accountabl
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5.3 Problems with international rights

The international human rights discourse claims that the value of its conception of rights lies in it being universal, empowering and human-centred. The idea of universality asserts the relevance of human rights to anyone, anywhere. Empowerment is the concept of human rights as a defence against inequality and the domination of the powerful over the weak. The human-centred feature of international rights seeks to provide a perspective on global questions, ‘putting the value of human dignity
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5.2 Human rights in the international arena

The UN's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that the ‘recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. It further affirmed that human rights should be protected by the rule of law, that they were ‘essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations’, that these fundamental human rights include the equal rights between men
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5.1 Rights, justice and international politics

What happens to notions of rights and justice when we move the discussion to the level of international politics?

In fact, three crucial things happen:

  1. The meaning of rights takes its bearings from the rights discourse developed from the UN Declaration. We will investigate the effects of this, both on rights and on international politics.

  2. We find that it is not always easy to establish who the right can be claimed against.
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3.2 What are rights?

The modern discourse of universal human rights has a number of features. The idea that everyone, everywhere has rights refers to the concept that there are certain entitlements justifiably owed to all individuals by virtue of certain features that all human beings have in common. As the nineteenth-century French politician and historian Alexis de Tocqueville put it, the idea of rights ‘removes from any request its supplicant character, and places the one who claims it on the same level as t
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2.1.1 Where did the attempt to define notions of rights internationally come from?

To some extent, this ideology of rights was new because it was expressed at the international level with new vigour, with the horrors of the Second World War and the calculated extermination of Jews, gypsies and others in mind. The discourse of individual rights had a stronger impact on international politics than at any time previously, as did the notion of a right to national self-determination. Yet this new departure for international politics also built upon ideas about rights that had be
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1 International human rights: an introduction

There are many examples of claims for rights in the international sphere.

One example was reported in September 2002. The British government was asked to make efforts to have a British man held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay deported to Britain to face charges of terrorism there in connection with the attacks on 11 September 2001. Concerns were expressed about the denial of this man's human rights at Guantanamo Bay. Are alleged terrorists entitled to human rights? Can the denial of
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the different interpretations of internationally recognised notions of rights and justice

  • give examples of implementing justice in an international sphere

  • investigate questions in international studies

  • analyse the different agencies of change in the international system.


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Introduction

This course is about rights and rights claims, and the idea of implementing justice in the international sphere based on the concept of rights. It is agreed by most people that ‘rights are a good thing’ and in many respects they are. However, this course deliberately takes a critical view. It seeks to examine closely why rights are a good thing and highlights some of the problems associated with rights. In this way, we hope that the sense in which rights are still, ultimately, ‘a good t
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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce materia
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