Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Modern political theory locates the notion of “rights” at the center of its debates. The liberal state and constitutional theory have emphasized rights as fundamental building blocks of the social order. In political thought, after a long lull, rights are once again a renewed focus of interest. Political theorists now commonly opt to articulate social demands in terms of rights rather than (for instance) as a general utility or integrity of the body politic. In this vein, several theorists—above all, those with liberal roots—have adopted the Lockean vision of the just political order whose primary obligation is to respect the moral rights of its citizens. However, there is a broad spectrum of definition for the concept of rights. In its older, objective usage, a right means “what is just” or “what is fair.” Aristotle, for instance, used dikaion to indicate that a society is rightly ordered. However, this “objective” This ...