Subjective dimensions of human rights: what do ordinary people understand by ‘human rights’.
The International Journal of Human Rights, 15(8) pp. 1215–1233.
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This article addresses how non-experts understand the general notion of human rights. After a discussion of the various ways in which human rights are understood by experts and lay people, new Q methodological results are presented. Results support previous research in suggesting the existence of at least four distinct ways of understanding human rights: as grounded universals; as a focus for radical political action; as socio-political constructions; and as agreements balanced against responsibilities. Other understandings draw upon religious foundations and notions of community belonging. These ways of understanding human rights are described in empirical detail and their implications for human rights discourse briefly discussed.
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