The human right to dominate

Nicola Perugini, Neve Gordon

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


At the turn of the new millennium, a new phenomenon has emerged: conservatives who just decades before had rejected the expanding human rights culture began to embrace human rights in order to advance their own political goals. This book accounts for how human rights—generally conceived as a counterhegemonic instrument for righting historical injustices—are being deployed to subjugate the weak and legitimize domination. Using Israel/Palestine as its main case study, this book describes the establishment of settler NGOs that appropriate human rights to dispossess indigenous Palestinians and military think tanks that rationalize lethal violence by invoking rights discourse. It is not only nationalists and security agencies that deploy human rights in this way, however. The book outlines the increasing convergences between liberal human rights NGOs, militaries, settler organizations, and extreme right nationalists, showing how radically different political actors champion the dissemination of human rights while mirroring each other’s political strategies. Indeed, Perugini and Gordon demonstrate the multifaceted role this discourse is currently playing in the international arena: on the one hand, human rights have become the lingua franca of global moral speak, while on the other they have become a tool for enhancing domination.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages216
ISBN (Electronic)9780199365043
ISBN (Print)9780199365012, 9780199365005
StatePublished - Jun 2015

Publication series

NameOxford studies in culture and politics
PublisherOxford University Press


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