Human Rights and the Body: Hidden in Plain Sight, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Human Rights and the Body

Hidden in Plain Sight, 1st Edition

By Annabelle Mooney


234 pages

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Hardback: 9781472422590
pub: 2014-09-25
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Human Rights and the Body is a response to the crisis in human rights, to the very real concern that without a secure foundation for the concept of human rights, their very existence is threatened. While there has been consideration of the discourses of human rights and the way in which the body is written upon, research in linguistics has not yet been fully brought to bear on either human rights or the body. Drawing on legal concepts and aspects of the law of human rights, Mooney aims to provide a universally defensible set of human rights and a foundation, or rather a frame, for them. She argues that the proper frames for human rights are firstly the human body, seen as an index reliant on the natural world, secondly the globe and finally, language. These three frames generate rights to food, water, sleep and shelter, environmental protection and a right against dehumanization. This book is essential reading for researchers and graduate students in the fields of human rights and semiotics of law.


’Bare, embodied life, traditionally conceived of as pre-political and pre-legal, emerges in Annabelle Mooney’s sensitive account as the very origin and index of being human, and hence as the only proper foundation for a truly universal set of basic human rights. The thinking enacted in this brilliant book will be a welcome contribution to the debate about universalism versus cultural relativism in the theory of human rights.’ Louis E. Wolcher, University of Washington, Seattle, USA ’Annabelle Mooney’s book is a landmark in the literature on human rights and our common humanity. Importantly, the main stress here is not so much on rights� as on human�. The two main reference points are the vulnerable human body and universal human concepts. This is novel and revealing. Highly recommended.’ Anna Wierzbicka, Australian National University, Australia ’By moving away from strictly defined aspects to what Dr Mooney refers to as Bare Human Rights, she helps us to look deeper into the human condition from a perspective of disenfranchisement and de-humanizing the other. Human Rights and the Body is at once thought-provoking and holistic in its approach to human rights. As corporate and political globalization marginalizes more and more of our world’s population, this is a timely text which should be read by those in the fields of world politics, law and business.’ Jack B. Hamlin, National University, USA ’What a bold and inspiring book, refreshingly disrespectful of the traditional boundaries between disciplines. Straddling philosophy, law and linguistics, the book invites us to reflect not only on human rights and the body, but effectively on the human condition itself.’ Gerlinde Mautner, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

About the Author

Annabelle Mooney is Reader in Sociolinguistics at the University of Roehampton, UK.

About the Series

Law, Language and Communication

Law, Language and Communication

This series encourages innovative and integrated perspectives within and across the boundaries of law, language and communication, with particular emphasis on issues of communication in specialized socio-legal and professional contexts. It seeks to bring together a range of diverse yet cumulative research traditions related to these fields in order to identify and encourage interdisciplinary research. The series welcomes proposals - both edited collections as well as single authored monographs - emphasizing critical approaches to law, language and communication, identifying and discussing issues, proposing solutions to problems, offering analyses in areas such as legal construction, interpretation, translation and de-codification.

Anne Wagner is Professor of Legal Semiotics and Research Professor at Centre de Recherche Droits & Perspectives du Droit, équipe René Demogue, Lille University, France. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law (Springer) and President of the International Roundtables for the Semiotics of Law. She has been awarded the National Research Grant for her research career. Her main research interests include semiotics, verbal and non-verbal sign system analyses, language and law, legal culture and heritage, legal translation, legal terminology, and legal discourse studies.

Vijay K. Bhatia, formerly Professor of English, City University of Hong Kong, is now Adjunct Professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Visiting Professor at the Hellenic American University, Athens (Greece). He is also the founding President of the Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association for Asia-Pacific. His research interests include Critical Genre Analysis, academic and professional discourses in legal, business, newspaper, and promotional contexts; ESP and Professional Communication; simplification of legal and other public documents; intercultural and cross-disciplinary variations in professional genres.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Public
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights