The question concerning human rights and human rightlessness: disposability and struggle in the Bhopal gas disaster

Odysseos, Louiza (2015) The question concerning human rights and human rightlessness: disposability and struggle in the Bhopal gas disaster. Third World Quarterly, 36 (6). pp. 1041-1059. ISSN 0143-6597

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Abstract

In the midst of concerns about diminishing political support for human rights, individuals and groups across the globe continue to invoke them in their diverse struggles against oppression and injustice. Yet both those concerned with the future of human rights and those who champion rights activism as essential to resistance, assume that human rights – as law, discourse and practices of rights claiming – can ameliorate rightlessness. In questioning this assumption, this article seeks also to reconceptualise rightlessness by engaging with contemporary discussions of disposability and social abandonment in an attempt to be attentive to forms of rightlessness co-emergent with the operations of global capital. Developing a heuristic analytics of rightlessness, it evaluates the relatively recent attempts to mobilise human rights as a frame for analysis and action in the campaigns for justice following the 3 December 1984 gas leak from Union Carbide Corporation’s (UCC) pesticide manufacturing plant in Bhopal, India. Informed by the complex effects of human rights in the amelioration of rightlessness, the article calls for reconstituting human rights as an optics of rightlessness.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: human rights, rightlessness, disposability, struggle, Bhopal gas disaster
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Depositing User: Medeni Fordham
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2015 11:44
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 07:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/55229

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