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The politics of liberty and security : the new human rights approach and its role in the era of the 'War on Terror'

Jackson, W 2012, The politics of liberty and security : the new human rights approach and its role in the era of the 'War on Terror' , PhD thesis, Salford: University of Salford.

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the role of human rights in contemporary liberal democracy and considers this role specifically in the context of the 'war on terror'. The thesis examines the relationship between human rights and security developed in this context and considers the processes through which this relationship has been formulated as well as the various players involved in development and maintenance of what needs to be understood as a liberty-security regime. The analysis begins from a critical understanding of contemporary liberalism still very much grounded in its classical tradition and seeks to interrogate the liberal character of the current regime. The necessary unraveling of this regime is done in part through a comparative analysis of the relationship between liberty and security as formulated in state strategy in the UK, Australia and the US. However, rather than understanding this regime as developed and sustained solely at the level of state or government action, the crucial role of civil society actors, particularly of certain intellectual strata and of human rights advocacy organisations, in constructing and legitimating such a regime, as well as the interplay between these perspectives, is also at the core of this study. The thesis demonstrates the pivotal role that liberal intellectuals and human rights organisations play in not only legitimating the current regime but also influencing its current form. Fundamentally, the research suggests that this legitimating function exists not in spite of their apparently critical position but because of it. The analysis in turn aims to establish whether the role of human rights in this context is indicative of an inherent political functionality or whether there is the possibility that human rights can be part of an alternative and above all emancipatory politics. To develop this consideration, a critical review is provided of certain thinkers on the left who utilise human rights principles as central to a critique of the current regime and as part of their vision of an alternative, leftist politics. By demonstrating that the effect of a human rights framework on critical interventions is not restricted to those working within the liberal tradition, this thesis suggests that a commitment to human rights principles in this context cannot be part of the development of a substantive critique of both the current regime and the wider liberal-capitalist status quo.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: WM Taylor
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2016 09:38
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:19
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/38095

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