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point, if difficult to grasp in practice: that is, the significance of approaching questions of rights and abuse not only through convictions about what must be done, or the dealings of international diplomacy, but through attentiveness to and engagement with the social practices, circumstances and perceptions of the people directly involved in the situation. This is the work of listening to the parties and the people involved and creating conditions where they can be more clearly heard. Directions taken in the period leading up to the invasion

in Human rights and the borders of suffering

. Thus, rather than being primarily an evangelical task of ‘truth-bearing’, or an assertion of the inevitable ‘rightness’ of a particular model of government, the promotion of human rights may demand long-term engagement with particular institutions or knots of social practice – with mechanisms for constructing community – across and between cultures. Response to abuse is part of a long and slow conversation between and across cultures on the nature of political community and the place of injury within it. In practical terms, efforts to change violent or injurious

in Human rights and the borders of suffering

having an important independent status. It is not just a mirror of other social practices or a smokescreen covering up what is ‘really happening’. The focus in this chapter is on the research potential of discourse analysis rather than on a comparison of discourse analysis with all other possible approaches to analysing European foreign policy. The main point is that there is ample scope for the use of discourse analysis in the

in Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy
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to enable a better human rights practice – that is, to enable a rights practice which is more observant of and responsive to the spectrum of injury that we collectively inflict and endure, more open to engagement over the long term with the complexities of the actual social practices, institutions and circumstances in which many forms of abuse are embedded, and which is at the least oriented no less towards the reconstitution of social and political relationships and structures shaped by violence and humiliation than it is towards the condemnation of the

in Human rights and the borders of suffering

certainty sought by many approaches to human rights is one embedded in the historical emergence of the modern state. And yet the effort of recognising and responding to abuse and the social practices in which it is embedded can raise profoundly difficult questions – questions that are liable to shake certainties as much as secure them. The massacres of the twentieth century, for example, of which for Westerners the Holocaust remains emblematic, raise questions that have no clear answers. The recognition of suffering can throw deeply embedded

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Meanings, Limits, Manifestations

groups to engage in the emancipatory struggles for recognition valued by Taylor. On Habermas's own account ( 1994 : 112–13), private and public autonomy are co-original, and recognition is a form of social practice that requires autonomy as a mode of communicative and deliberative participation. Rather than regarding rights as inhering either individually or collectively, then, Habermas suggests that

in Recognition and Global Politics

consequence. By the time an army is crushing its own fellow-citizens with tanks in the streets there is nothing (short of the very mixed and politically and ethically fraught benefits of military intervention) that anyone or any entity can do, except express displeasure after the event. It is in the mundane webs of social practice, which either support or obstruct events such as Tiananmen, which lower or raise the threshold of acceptable violence, that practical action may sometimes be possible. To focus on the drama of the individual versus the state is to overlook the

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Dominant approaches

enmeshment of politics and ethics. The assertion of human rights is part of politics as it questions the constitution of relationships and agency and the circulation of power. And, in the same way, notions of human rights address the processes, slow and invisible or explicit and direct, by which we come to value things. Abuse is often embedded in damaging social practice and relationship. It is generated not only through that exercise of power that is forcing others (unreasonably) to your will (although that is a significant form of abuse) but through that power which is

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
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effective political and social change. If systemically inflicted harm is not solely a matter of the relationships between government and citizens but is embedded in social practice and in the social and political institutions and forms in which identities take shape and value is assigned, change is not simply a matter of legislation, less intrusive government or the ‘correct’ principles. Nor is it achieved largely by formal international norm setting arrived at by elites (although this can play a role). Rather, the movement away from violence and oppression may involve a

in Human rights and the borders of suffering

not simply exclusionary social practice (of, for instance, the agency of nature in IR), but also as monopolization of the symbolic-political production of externality (cf. Fraser in Nash and Bell 2007 : 74–7). As instanced by Cudworth and Hobden ( 2011 : 140), the inclusion of environmentalism as an ‘issue’ of security effectively buttresses the anthropocentric bias of

in Recognition and Global Politics