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Ignatieff- Democracy and the rights revolution.doc

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC323H5
Professor
Nicole Myers
Semester
Fall

Description
Democracy and the Rights Revolution (Michael Ignatieff) • Rights revolution- way in which rights talk (i.e women’s rights, aboriginal rights, gay rights) has transformed how we think about ourselves as citizens, men/ women and parents o Began in the 1960s in all industrialized countries o **rights revolution is a story of inclusion (how previously excluded groups obtained rights of equality) • Rights revolution about protecting certain groups from effects of democracy – rights have a double sided relationship to democracy o About enhancing our right to be equal and protecting our right to be different • Challenge of the rights revolution- enhancing equality while protecting difference • How rights are related to emotions of people- history of last 50 years has been the struggle of colonial people for their freedom, struggle of minorities of colour and women for full civil rights, and the struggle of aboriginal people to achieve self-government • People who win their rights don’t necessarily want anyone else to have them- i.e. women, blacks and working people • **rights commit us to equality** - if rights exist, they must be applicable to everyone equally • **price of freedom is eternal vigilance** • Rights revolution makes society harder to control, more unruly and more contentious- rights equality makes society more inclusive, and rights protection constrains government power • Way in which women’s organizations, aboriginal groups and ordinary citizens forced their way and enlarged the process of constitutional change and its results o Canada has moved away from constitutional debate dominated by governments and first ministers to a system of constitutional renewal driven by citizens, interest groups and nations o May have started with Trudeau/s desire to anchor Canadian unity in the equality of individual rights o Charter of Rights and Freedoms included language rights, women’s equality, multicultural heritage and aboriginal land claims by 1982 • Canada one of the most distinctive rights cultures in the world o On moral issues such as abortion, gay rights and capital punishment, our legal codes are liberal, secular and pro-choice o Our culture is social democratic in its approach to rights to welfare and public assistance (i.e. access to health care, unemployment insurance) o Particular emphasis on group rights- i.e. Quebec’s Charte de la langue francaise and treaty agreements that given land/resources to aboriginal groups o Actually put in writing, in recent supreme court decisions and in federal legislation, the terms and conditions for breaking our federation apart • Canadians role in global rights revolution: o John Humphrey- helped draft Universal Declaration of Human Rights (attempt to universalize Canadian social democracy) o Canadian lawyers working on Baltic constitution to guarantee rights of Russian minority under minority-right commissioner of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe • Will Kymlicka- world’s leading authority on group rights for minorities •
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