Seminar 2: Human Rights and Politics
Alexandre Sá Marques
University of Coimbra
Human right remained for a long time a politically suspicious concept. From left to right-wing,
many intellectuals saw in this concept both an essay to deal with political problems from a
pure ethical perspective, essentially alien to politics, and a way of defending self-interests
without assuming them as such. However, in recent times, human rights acquired a key role in
world politics, becoming the fundamental concept in which, according to many people, a new
world politics should find its ground. In the seminar, we will analyze the process that made
possible such an enormous change, as well as the consequences, in many cases not yet
sufficiently measured, of this process.
1. The history of human rights and its “generations”
2. Historical criticism to the concept of human rights
3. Human Rights as Law
4. Human rights as politics and its consequences