The domains of free speech have become a controversial topic in Sweden. Free speech used to be considered a hallmark of democracy. Now it is considered a threat to society and individuals. The cause of this fundamental reversal is found in wider social and political changes within the state. It is shown that presumed politically neutral principles are actually a hive of conflicting political opinions sparking questions over how we define free speech and human rights. The article draws on several examples and a couple of legal cases to illustrate the theoretical ramifications of the debate. The result is that when the state becomes a competitive forum for individuals and personal security an abstract idea, free speech becomes a threat. Free speech and other human rights, the author argues, are best seen as cultural beacons for social and cultural integration, rather than as legal instruments and means to address conflict resolution. You can say what you want, as long as it remains within the limits set by public opinion. There is no unconditional free speech.
*Artikeln är accepterad av två ”blind referees”.
Keywords: Free speech, Sweden, social fragmentation, culture, human rights, integration.
Under conditions of regime change, human rights can have several different functions. They can, for instance, stimulate social mobilization during the breakdown of non-democratic regimes and help give structure to transnational human rights networks. Human rights also operate as a politically potent international regime of significance under certain societal conditions. In a post-transitional period, and depending upon the balance of power between the old and new regimes, human rights may help establish new governance aimed at achieving domestic legitimacy and support, e.g., through processes of transitional justice that address the former regime’s human rights violations. How the new regime deals with human rights violations of the past may affect its post-transition international legitimacy, although the power of human rights is constrained by the balance of power between the old and the new regimes.
Key words: Regime change, international regime, social mobilisation, governance, human rights research.
In The Law of Peoples, John Rawls extends his approach on domestic justice to the international domain. To this end he sets out 8 principles that should govern international relations, and claims that these principles should be derived from already existing agreements governing international relations. His approach is thus a form of immanent critique in which he works out ideals from already established practices. This point is not appreciated by Robert Huseby in his recent article on The Law of Peoples. Against Huseby, I defend The Law of Peoples as a realistic utopia which is reformist and less ethnocentric than the position Huseby defends.
Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, human rights, justification, Law of Peoples, Rawls.
Many normative justifications of human rights suffer from philosophical-anthropological indeterminacy. To avoid this pitfall, human rights should be justified not only normatively but also phenomenologically and empirically within the same justificatory framework. Such a multidimensional argumentation strategy would strengthen the cosmopolitan legitimacy of human rights.
Keywords: Axel Honneth, human rights, philosophical anthropology, multidimensional justification, cosmopolitanism, Martha Nussbaum.
During 2002 and 2003, the International Labour Organization (ILO) provided technical assistance to a group of women entrepreneurs in the northern province of El Chaco, Argentina. This group produced soy-based food products for a community that faced malnutrition because of the economic crisis. However, because of gender stereotypes, the women had difficulty in establishing the value of their working hour, and in receiving remuneration for their efforts. The article explores these barriers, as well as the lack of help from their significant others that worsened the “second shift” of the women’s domestic work at home. The author ends by suggesting that men could play a positive role in transforming gender stereotypes.
Keywords: Human rights, women’s rights, Argentina, gender stereotypes, local development, decent wage, food crisis.