Non-Human Rights


Non-Human Rights

Critical Perspectives

9781802208511 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa, Lecturer and IHSS Fellow, Queen Mary University of London and Costas Douzinas, Emeritus Professor, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
Publication Date: 2024 ISBN: 978 1 80220 851 1 Extent: 274 pp
Non-human entities, including animals, mountains, rainforests, eco-systems, AI, and robots, are beginning to be considered the subjects of rights in different parts of the world. This innovative book provides a critical outlook on this emerging trend at the crossroad of two of the main concerns of the 21st century: climate change and automation.

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Critical Acclaim
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Non-human rights are a reality today: this book unpacks their paradoxes as well as their significance for our historic crucible. As animals, rivers, mountains, rainforests, ecosystems, and synthetic entities such as machines, AI, and robots gain recognition as subjects of rights in different parts of the world, non-human rights become part of our ordinary legal landscape and vocabulary. This timely book provides a critical outlook on this rising trend at the crossroads of two of the main concerns of the 21st century: climate change and automation.

In seeking to address the foundations, genealogies, philosophies, and impacts of non-human rights, the contributors to this volume examine both their potential and limitations. Are non-human rights just a mere extension of the liberal human rights discourse or, as some suggest, something else and new based on different principles? Are they a ‘revolution’ or just ‘more of the same’? Are they a practical solution that could ‘save us’ from climate disaster and self-destruction through automation or part of the problem and obstacle for social change?

This book will be a vital resource for scholars and students of human rights, environmental law, animal rights, law and technology studies, legal theory, socio-legal studies, constitutional law and public international law. Providing an accessible overview of the changing patterns of the rights discourse in contemporary societies, it will also benefit anthropologists, climate and animal rights activists, political scientists, international relations scholars, policy makers and sociologists.
Critical Acclaim
‘This book is exceedingly timely, with courts the world over assigning rights to non-humans with increasing liberality. Do animals, rivers, robots have rights? Should they? In this intensely insightful volume, gathering some of the legal world’s most innovative scholars, Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa and Costas Douzinas have given us a treasure of legal intrigue, a cascade of new thinking about “rights”, coupled with a fearless critical refusal to assume that more rights is always better. A must read for scholars of the posthuman, the cyborg, the ecosphere, and, indeed, the future of law.’
– Stephen Humphreys, The London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

‘How and why do non-human rights reproduce and entrench the human exceptionalism they are supposed to challenge? From different perspectives and with different accents, this incisive set of essays explores how animals, nature, and robots are excluded from humanity in the very process of being included as rights-holders, while also critically probing the notion of humanity that would define what counts, residually, as non-human. The volume will be an essential companion to scholarly research for which the “non-human” is a cypher of our times and the problems it must come to terms with.’
– Hans Lindahl, Tilburg University, the Netherlands and Queen Mary University of London, UK
Contributors include: Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa, Idelber Avelar, Ciméa B. Bevilaqua, Colin Dayan, Costas Douzinas, Erin Fitz-Henry, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, David J. Gunkel, Jannice Käll, Edward Mussawir, Marie-Catherine Petersmann, Alain Pottage

A Critical Introduction to Non-Human Rights 1
Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa
1 Residual humanism 13
Colin Dayan
2 On the juridical existence of animals: the case of a bear in
Colombia’s Constitutional Court 20
Edward Mussawir
3 Why nature has no rights 39
Alain Pottage
4 The rights of robots 66
David J. Gunkel
5 Who is the subject of (non) human rights? 88
Alexis Alvarez-Nakagawa
6 Deliberate legal equivocations: Making non-human
persons, multiplying differences 117
Ciméa B. Bevilaqua
7 The EU Charter on Rights of Nature – colliding
cosmovisions on non/human relations 140
Marie-Catherine Petersmann
8 A diplomacy for human/non-human relations: Letter to
a young climate activist 163
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera
9 More-than-human rights to data 188
Jannice Käll
10 Decentring the human or rescaling the state? Grassroots
movements for the ‘rights’ of nature in the United States 205
Erin Fitz-Henry
11 Non-Human Rights, Amazonian ecocide and Davi
Kopenawa’s counter-ethnography of merchandise people 222
Idelber Avelar
12 Do androids dream of having rights? 239
Costas Douzinas
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