Political Philosophy on Group Rights - Dictionary of Arguments
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Group Rights/Political philosophy/Kukathas: Even before multiculturalism acquired its current prominence, however, some philosophers had already advanced accounts of group rights. Joseph Raz (1986(1): 207—8), for example, in his influential account of rights leaves space for collective rights. Larry May (1987(2): 180), while remaining cautious about the extent to which groups should be recognized as rights holders, argued that moral theorists needed to examine more closely the actions and interests of social groups as possible bearers of rights and responsibilities. And Frances Svensson (1979)(3) had earlier suggested that group rights were needed to do justice to the claims of native peoples.
The consensus of opinion is that it is quite possible for groups to have rights, or for rights to be accorded both to groups and to individuals on the basis of identity. A group may hold a right as an independently recognized entity; and individuals may hold particular rights because they are members of particular collectivities.
Problems: Nonetheless, this issue has remained controversial because of the implications of granting rights on the basis of group membership. >Cultural rights/Levy.
Content/education/problems: The demands of some groups for rights in the form of exemptions,
for example, have generated a substantial debate about the implications of such special rights. This debate becomes especially vigorous, however, when particular issues become salient: religion,
education, and children.
Children/religion: While most liberal defenders of multiculturalism have been ready to grant cultural minorities the right to live by their own beliefs, children and education have raised special problems. For many, the limits of multiculturalism are set by the need to protect the interests of children, which override even the rights of parents or communities to inculcate their own religious beliefs.
1. Raz, Joseph (1986) The Morality of Freedom. Oxford: Clarendon.
2. May, Larry (1987) The Morality of Gmups: Collective Responsibility, Group-Based Harm, and Corporate Rights. Notre Dame, In: University of Notre Dame
3. Svensson, Frances (1979) 'Liberal democracy and group rights: the legacy of individualism and its impact on American Indian tribes'. Political Studies, 23 (3): 421-39.
Kukathas, Chandran 2004. „Nationalism and Multiculturalism“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004