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essentialist human rights, critical modernist human rights


In short, human rights is "an essentially contested concept". I think it is important to be clear right from the beginning as to what we mean by human rights, because that assumption will determine the remainder of our analysis. Two conceptions, in particular, tended to surface in the Conference and it is important to spotlight them because they underpin, concretize and reflect many of the other tensions of the last couple of days. These I shall call "the essentialist" and "the critical modernist" versions of human rights.