Individual Duty within a Human Rights Discourse: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Individual Duty within a Human Rights Discourse

1st Edition

By Douglas Hodgson


296 pages

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Paperback: 9781138258334
pub: 2016-11-11
Hardback: 9780754623618
pub: 2003-12-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315252360
pub: 2017-03-02
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Over the past two decades or so, legal literature has devoted much attention to various human rights issues at both the national and international levels. Yet there has been comparatively little written on the concept and importance of individual duty within the human rights discourse. This book attempts to comprehensively and systematically examine the corollary of human right - the principle of individual duty - from a number of different perspectives, including history, the law (principally international human rights and humanitarian law and national constitutional law), philosophy, jurisprudence, religion, and ethics. The author attempts to demonstrate that a greater emphasis upon individual duties is consistent with a cultural relativist critique, natural law theory, the experience of national legal systems and regional human rights systems, certain socio-political philosophies and conventional sociological postulates, and the dictates of good public policy. The author urges the assignment of a greater, indeed revived, role for the principle of individual duty in order to achieve a more salutary balance between rights and duties and in the relationship between individual freedom and the welfare of the general community.


'This book is a must for anyone with an inquiring mind who is thinking about the law on human rights. It turns the usual debate on its head by concentrating on duties rather than rights, emphasising that individual duties and community-mindedness are essential complements to the existing legal mechanisms. The author draws on a fascinating variety of sources from a wide range of disciplines, including history, theology and philosophy. Clearly written, the work is learned and scholarly in showing that its central tenet is in fact familiar in many human organisations and thought systems.' Professor Evelyn Ellis, University of Birmingham, UK 'Hodgson presents his material clearly and purposefully and the book provides accessible reading: the argument is clear and well-signposted. It provides a very useful account for those seeking an overvies of this kind of critique of human rights law.' Australian Year Book of International Law

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The historical development of the principle of duty and its contemporary philosophical sources; The taxonomy of duties; Religion, ethics and the principle of individual duty; Individual criminal responsibility under international law; The position of individual duty within the international and regional human rights system; Particular individual duties explicitly recognised under international and regional human rights law and by national law; Socialism and individual duty; Impoverished 'Rights Talk', the sociology of duty and the re-emergence of communitarianism; The enforcement of individual duties; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index; Tables.

About the Author

Douglas Hodgson is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia.

About the Series

Applied Legal Philosophy

Applied Legal Philosophy
The principal objective of this series is to encourage the publication of books which adopt a theoretical approach to the study of particular areas or aspects of law, or deal with general theories of law in a way which is directed at issues of practical, moral and political concern in specific legal contexts. The general approach is both analytical and critical and relates to the socio-political background of law reform issues. This series includes studies of all the main areas of law, presented in a manner which relates to the concerns of specialist legal academics and practitioners. Each book makes an original contribution to an area of legal study while being comprehensible to those engaged in a wide variety of disciplines. Their legal content is principally Anglo-American, but a wide-ranging comparative approach is encouraged and authors are drawn from a variety of jurisdictions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Civil Rights