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Rights and Duties

Rights and Duties

The EHRC provides support for a series of meetings developing discussions of the discourses of rights and duties with respect to economic and social rights and rights to health and educational provision from the 18th to the 21st centuries.


Writing the History of Socio-economic Rights

26-27 May 2015, at the University of Warwick

This is an invitation-only workshop, convened by Dr Claudia Stein of the Centre for the HIstory of Medicine and Dr Charles Walton of the Eighteenth Century Centre, and in collaboration with the European History Research Centre and the Global History & Culture Centre.

During this two-day workshop, we will consider how to write the history of socioeconomic rights – rights to health, food, work, housing and education. These rights, which have received considerably less attention than civil and political rights, have recently come into focus among scholars and NGOs. Often considered to be ‘second generation rights’, that is, as twentieth-century additions to ‘core’ civil and political rights stretching back to the eighteenth century, notions of socioeconomic rights stretch back, in fact, to the Enlightenment. Socioeconomic rights exploded into the politics of the French Revolution. Since then, however, their legitimacy has been contested and has proved to be more precarious than that of civil and political rights. What accounts for this historical precariousness?

This workshop is being held during the IAS fellowship of Samuel Moyn (Harvard Law School, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History). It will bring together scholars working from different disciplinary perspectives – history, law, politics, literature, philosophy, anthropology – in an effort to conceptualise problems and dynamics related to the history of socioeconomic rights. We aim to explore the complicated interactions between these rights and politics, political economy, philosophy, humanitarianism, theories of law and rights, biopolitics and health, international relations and economic conjunctures.

For the programme and other information, please go to: