Human Rights and Memory

By (author) Daniel Levy, Natan Sznaider

Hardback - £49.95

Publication date:

23 July 2010

Length of book:

192 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271037387

Memories of historical events like the Holocaust have played a key role in the internationalization of human rights. Their importance lies in their ability to bridge the universal and the particular—the universality of human values and the particularity of memories rooted in local human experiences. In Human Rights and Memory, Levy and Sznaider trace the growth of human rights discourse since World War II and interpret its deployment of memories as a new form of cosmopolitanism, exemplifying a dynamic through which global concerns become part of local experiences, and vice versa.

“In this inspirational text about the impact of human-rights principles and normative cosmopolitanism on both the nation-state and international relations, Levy and Sznaider address the dominant moral problems of our time. Why should I care? Who is my brother? What should I remember? Through a defense of cosmopolitan ethics, they provide convincing answers to the perplexities of rights from Hannah Arendt onwards, namely, the specific rights of citizens versus the universal Rights of Man. Human rights matter because modern states can no longer abuse their own citizens with impunity in the name of national unity. Given the slide toward authoritarianism and state security, the task of defending both cosmopolitanism and human rights has a definite political urgency to which Human Rights and Memory offers a decisive response.”

—Bryan S. Turner, Presidential Professor, the City University of New York, the Graduate Center