Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Michalinos Zembylas, Foucault and Human Rights: Seeking the Renewal of Human Rights Education, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Article first published online: 30 JUN 2015

DOI: 10.1111/1467-9752.12148

This article takes up Foucault’s politics of human rights and suggests that it may constitute a point of departure for the renewal of HRE, not only because it rejects the moral superiority of humanism—the grounding for the dominant liberal framework of international human rights—but also because it makes visible the complexities of human rights as illimitable and as strategic tools for new political struggles. Enriching human rights critiques has important implications for HRE, precisely because these critiques prevent the dominance of unreflexive and unproductive forms of HRE that lead toward a declarationalist, conservative and uncritical approach. It is argued that Foucault’s critical affirmation of human rights—that is, an approach which is neither a full embrace nor a total rejection—provides a critique that can be disruptive to the conventional HRE approach and creates openings that might renew HRE, both politically and pedagogically.

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