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Samuel Moyn and Marcel Gauchet on the Relationship Between Human Rights, Neoliberalism, and Inequality
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science. École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5083-4546
2023 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Human Rights, ISSN 1891-8131, E-ISSN 1891-814X, Vol. 41, no 4, p. 471-489Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on the acclaimed interconnections between human rights, inequality, and neoliberalism. I first turn to the thought of one of the most influential scholars on the question, historian Samuel Moyn. I unveil a hitherto unacknowledged shift in his historical-political approach to human rights: from a focus on what I shall refer to as a critique of ‘political minimalism’ in The Last Utopia (2010) to a focus on economic minimalism in Not Enough (2018). This is the article’s first, historical aim. The second aim is to criticize Moyn’s more recent position. I unpack my argument by drawing on one of Moyn’s most important sources of inspiration: French social philosopher Marcel Gauchet. Gauchet’s conceptualization of the role of human rights in late modernity (the 1970s and onwards) played a crucial role in Moyn’s first 2010 study; in his last publication, it plays a much more marginal role. I maintain that Gauchet’s analysis highlights the limits not only of Moyn’s latest publication but of the dominant strands in the current Anglophone debate on human rights and inequality more generally. The drawback of the debate, and thus Moyn’s intervention, is that it disregards the relationship between human rights and equality—in contrast to its great focus on human rights’ relationship to inequality—in late modernity. The strength of Gauchet’s approach is that it highlights the potentiality of taking the relationship between human rights and equality into consideration when attempting to conceptualize the relationship between human rights and neoliberalism. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Taylor & Francis, 2023. Vol. 41, no 4, p. 471-489
Keywords [en]
Human rights, Samuel Moyn, Inequality, Marcel Gauchet, Neoliberalism, Equality
National Category
Social Sciences History of Ideas
Research subject
Smart Cities and Communities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-51719DOI: 10.1080/18918131.2023.2250676ISI: 001067590700001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85170692049OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-51719DiVA, id: diva2:1801162
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2019-00530Available from: 2023-09-29 Created: 2023-09-29 Last updated: 2024-03-19Bibliographically approved

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Wedin, Tomas

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