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Human Rights and the Reinvention of Freedom (Hardcover) (Nick Stevenson)

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This volume seeks to propose a reinvention of freedom under contemporary conditions of globalization, cross-border mobility, and neo-liberal dominance.There are currently two predominant myths circulating about freedom. The first is that in a global age growing numbers of citizens are less concerned with freedom than they are with security. This has meant that states now increasingly control their borders, curtail civic freedoms, regulate the flow of migrants and punish so-called ‘failed’ citizens. Secondly, there is the popular presumption that freedom only refers to market freedom and consumerism, implying that the ideas of choice and consumption are interchangeable with ideas of freedom.

Stevenson argues that while both of these arguments are significant they are deeply misleading. More ‘authentic’ ideas of freedom we might have associated with the European Enlightenment, such as self-realisation, participating in politics and seeking a meaningful life of self-reflection have not been entirely displaced but have instead become reinvented in our global times. The cries of freedom can still be heard in a multitude of places from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement and from the protests against European austerity to the current popularity of human rights. Yet the idea of freedom has become increasingly mobile in our interconnected and transnational society. The spaces and places of civil society are more complex in this global age, pushing ideas of freedom far beyond the usual arena of national politics. This book will aim to explore a diversity of ways in which notions of freedom are being re-made within the context of the present, and look more precisely at the current threats to freedom.

Arguing that the project of freedom is far from finished and is being reinvented in our more global times, this work will be of interest to students and scholars of globalization, human rights and cultural sociology.

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