New Book: “Humanitarianism and Human Rights. A World of Differences?”

Michael Barnett (ed.), Humanitarianism and Human Rights. A World of Differences?, Cambridge University Press 2020.

This book explores the fluctuating relationship between human rights and humanitarianism. For most of their lives, human rights and humanitarianism have been distant cousins. Humanitarianism focused on situations in faraway places dealing with large-scale loss of life that demanded urgent attention whilst human rights advanced the cause of individual liberty and equality at home. However, the twentieth century saw the two coming much more directly into dialogue, particularly following the end of the Cold War, as both began working in war zones and post-conflict situations. Leading scholars probe how the shifting meanings of human rights and humanitarianism converge and diverge from a variety of disciplinary perspectives ranging from philosophical inquiries that consider whether and how differences are constructed at the level of ethics, obligations, and duties, to historical inquiries that attempt to locate core differences within and between historical periods, and to practice-oriented perspectives that suggest how differences are created and recreated in response to concrete problems and through different kinds of organised activities with different goals and meanings.

Table of Content:

Introduction: Worlds of Difference, Michael Barnett

Part I Differences or Distinctions?

1 Human Rights and Humanitarianization: From Separation to Intersection, Samuel Moyn

2 Suffering and Status, Jeffrey Flynn

3 Humanitarianism and Human Rights in Morality and Practice, Charles R. Beitz

4 For a Fleeting Moment: The Short, Happy Life of Humanism, Stephen Hopgood

Part II Practices

5 Humanitarian Governance and the Circumvention of Revolutionary Human Rights in the British Empire, Alan Lester

6 Humanitarian Intervention as an Entangled History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights, Fabian Klose

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