The Human Right to Dominate


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 0.9 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

Nicola Perugini is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Middle East Studies and Italian Studies at Brown University.

Neve Gordon is Professor of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University and author of Israel's Occupation.


"Nourished by a profound knowledge of the intricacies of the situation in Israel and Palestine, Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon uncover a remarkable paradox of contemporary society: how the claim for human rights can coexist with the use of violence and serve purposes of domination. Their convincing analysis invites a critical rethinking of the global moral order." -Didier Fassin, editor of Moral Anthropology and Contemporary States of Emergency

"This is a stunning book. The clarity and insight of The Human Right to Dominate should be required reading for anyone concerned with human rights. The aim of the authors is not to debunk the concept, but to suggest that it must be open to a critical reinterpretation that subverts, rather than reinforces, relations of domination." -Joan W. Scott, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study

"For Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, if we celebrate the idea of human rights when progress occurs, we must also blame it when things go wrong. And their disturbing book on the fate of human rights in Israel/Palestine in the last decade shows why - not least when illegal settlers claim the ideals for themselves. But while wary of easy uplift, The Human Right to Dominate ultimately calls for saving human rights from what they have become in an age when states usually win and our highest values can help launder endless wars." -Samuel Moyn, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History

"The Human Right to Dominate is a highly original, provocative, and timely contribution. Perugini and Gordon offer a critical realist examination of the state of human rights in light of the fact that states, militaries, and other national security actors have used the language of human rights to justify wars, occupations, and extra-judicial executions. This, they argue, is not a misappropriation but a paradoxical consequence of the successful elevation of human rights language into a globalized normative framework." -Lisa Hajjar, author of Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza

"This fascinating study of human rights is sure to receive much criticism for the way that Perugini and Gordon examine human rights. In particular, they are intrigued by the connection that is forming between human rights and domination.... Recommended." -CHOICE

"Not only does this book invite a critical reflection of the global moral order but it is a definite must read for anyone truly concerned with the state of human rights in our world today. Perugini and Gordon have used their profound knowledge of the intricacies of the Palestinian-Isreal situation to wisely and urgently suggest a critical reinterpretation of HR that subverts relation of domination." -Law & Society Review

"Perugini and Gordon have made a welcome contribution to the growing range of scholarship that takes a hard, critical look at what the human rights system has become. The book stands in conversation with the likes of Stephen Hopgood, Mark Mazower, Samuel Moyn, and Winfred Tate among others, who have chipped away at the naive and idealistic assumptions, interrupting the 'narrative of global salvation and redemption through human rights' (p.27) by examining the empirical realities of how human rights function in the world, for good or for ill, and always for politics" ---Global Discourse

"Some human rights are less human than others. [...] Perugini's and Gordon's deconstructive work constitutes a healthy antidote that allows us to identify the traps that surround us when we try to elaborate the language of universal rights within the framework of state power". ---Lo Straniero

"The tight relationship between human rights and the sovereign state has elicited significant critical attention (Agamben, 1998; Arendt [1951] 1968; Douzinas, 2000; cf. Cohen, 2012), and Perugini and Gordon (2015) make an important contribution to this literature as they examine Israel's creation as a representative example of 'the constitutive relationship between human rights, national statecraft, and domination' (Perugini and Gordon, 2015: 30)"---Ayten GοΏ½ndo?du, Journal of International Political Theory