The Liberal Project and Human Rights: The Theory and Practice of a New World Order

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The 'Liberal Project' aims to transform society in accordance with liberal values and practices. This volume argues that the United Nations regime on human rights is an attempt to realise this project on an international level. The authors provide an engaging theoretical and historical context for this argument, defining the concept of liberalism, its origins and evolution, and identify it as a universal value that constitutes the very essence of the international human rights regime. The book explores the possibility of a cross-cultural consensus on the issue being reached, but problems of sovereignty and nationalism are also discussed as potential obstacles to the Liberal Project's completion. This penetrating and insightful work will appeal to a wide range of scholars and students interested in liberalism and human rights from the fields of international relations, law, political theory and political philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Liberalism, assailed from all sides in the great political and legal debates of our time, is defended staunchly and deftly in this expansive and sensitive book. Charvet and Kaczynska-Nay combine their talents as political theorist and international lawyer, respectively, to produce a meticulous account of a human rights order embedded in the political practice of liberalism.”
Gerry Simpson, London School of Economics and Political Science

"[K]nowledgeably and flawlessly argued...All in all it is a cultivated, well written and lengthy piece of advocacy"
Canadian Journal of Political Science, Nicola Contessi, Université Laval

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521883146
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2008
  • Pages: 446
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Charvet is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics.

Elisa Kaczynska-Nay is a lawyer and researcher, working on issues of economic development and international law.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Liberal Beginnings: 1. The contextual origin of liberal thought and practice; 2. The Westphalian society of sovereign states; 3. The growth of liberal universalism; Part II. UN Regime on Human Rights: 4. The UN and regional declarations and covenants on human rights; 5. The right of peoples to self-determination; 6. Right to development; 7. Women's international human rights; 8. The implementation of international human rights; Part III. Critique and Defence of Liberalism: 9. Western critiques of liberal human rights; 10. Liberalism and non-western cultures; 11. In defence of liberalism.

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