The metamorphoses of human rights: disclosures of rightlessness and practices of self-formation

Guest lecture by Louiza Odysseos in the context of the Lecture Series "Out of the Dark"

There is rising concern amongst human rights practitioners and scholars, and all those committed to progressive forms of politics, that we have now entered an era of ‘rights disenchantment’. In this talk, Louiza Odysseos discusses how greater attentiveness to the ‘radical potential’ of human rights, which emerges from a concerted examination of their work in the struggles of groups and communities contesting disposability, may offer resources to challenge such disenchantment. She examines two areas of radical potential. First, going against the critical assessments of the failures of human rights to offer concrete and guaranteed pathways out of rightlessness, she proposes that we reconstitute human rights away from assumed ‘antidotes’ to the ailment of rightlessness and towards an ‘optics of rightlessness’: that lens that takes us closer to revealing the modalities and operations of ‘making rightless’ in neoliberalising polities. And, second, she examines how discourses and mobilisations of rights intersect with everyday and anti-systemic struggles to aid processes of resistive, humanising self-formation and to promote new self-understandings of those regarded superfluous to the social and economic order as rightful co-governors. In her examination of the metamorphoses of rights, she calls for developing a phenomenology of rights and a view of them as facilitating operations of ‘counter-conduct’.

Dr. Louiza Odysseos is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex. She is a member of the international steering group for the Resistance Studies Network and Deputy Director of the Sussex Rights and Justice Research Centre. She is the author of The Subject of Coexistence: Otherness in International Relations (2007) and numerous articles on international theory, ethics, rights and resistance. She has also co-edited Gendering the International (2002), The International Political Theory of Carl Schmitt (2007) and The Power of Human Rights/The Human Rights of Power (2017) and Heidegger and the Global Age (forthcoming, 2017). She is currently researching a monograph entitled The Reign of Rights in Global Politics.

Allende Platz 1, Room 250

Further information on the Lecture Series "Out of the Dark"