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June 18, 2009

Article of Interest: "Freedom, Want and Economic and Social Rights: Frame and Law"

Katherine Young has posted "Freedom, Want and Economic and Social Rights: Frame and Law" 24 Maryland J. of Int. L. 176 (2009) to SSRN.  Abstract below:

In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognized the aspiration for everyone to enjoy freedom from want and particular economic and social rights. Sixty years after the proclamation of the Universal Declaration, it is important to review its meaning and its effects in the context of significantly different legal, political, economic and cultural landscapes. To approach this task, this article employs the unusual device of considering a Norman Rockwell painting of "Freedom from Want". This painting, well-known in the United States, responded to the local wartime political culture, and depicted the private enjoyment of material security in patriarchal, consumerist and culturally uniform terms. This article employs the themes made evident in the painting to underscore the assumptions made in the text of the Universal Declaration. Having outlined this reading, it suggests an alternative framework for understanding economic and social rights. Firstly, economic and social rights provide an important frame around redistributive contestations that strive for universalism in expression and the location of institutional responsibility in response. Secondly, economic and social rights ground legal norms, which are in some cases enforceable and in others available to exert a different kind of pressure on legal decision-makers. As frame and as law, economic and social rights provide an important pragmatic justification for the Universal Declaration's continuing relevance.

-E.R. erosser@wcl.american.edu

June 18, 2009 in Books/Articles/Reports of Interest | Permalink

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Comments

I just want to say that we are very lucky here in North America because we have so much freedoms. There are rights of every kind, religious, voting,speech, etc. But look at other countries like Pakistan for example where there is a democratic system but the freedom is really wanting. That is why there are journalists who work daily to advance the cause of freedom around the globe. God bless all of them!

Posted by: Richie Mogwai | Jun 18, 2009 4:09:55 PM

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