Botting explores the notion that human rights are abstract claims which cannot be justified in the real world. Her exposition is motivated by the stand of some political philosophers in regards to the quest for a just society where the intrinsic value of every individual is acknowledged regardless of their physical characteristics. To accomplish this, she explores the concept of human experience as a motivation for the quest for dignity and justice.
The primary concern of Botting's argument is that human rights must be interpreted in the context of culture to elucidate the rationale for the claims of respect for rights of certain groups in the society especially women. In other words, rights cannot be understood if the interpretation of such concept is separated from history. Despite the lack of a clear basis for justification of the existence of human rights, Botting argues that one can get a better understanding of the claims for rights if they examine the concept of a human rights agitator from the lens of making a claim for a place in a shared platform of humanity. And such claims take place in a given culture in response to political and socioeconomic circumstances. As such, she informs us that human rights can be limited by society, culture or legal frameworks. For instance, the claims for socioeconomic and political rights for women and minorities in the United States can be better understood if such allegations interpreted in the context of the historical experiences these groups have undergone rather than their physical characteristics.
When the downtrodden rise and claim their rights, such quest enables us to interpret the concept of human rights as a product of real-life experiences. The strength of claim for rights rests in the human power to allege them (p.60), she says. This strategy is necessary for settings where there is no mechanism in the cultural and political climate to actualize the universal human rights. In such circumstances, Botting proposes the tool of an emotional voice to argue the need for womens rights to be enshrined in law or practiced in our culture. This approach, Botting argues, would enable us to confront the wrongs of the past and design a way forward for a better future. Indeed, historical evidence suggests that we respond to problems in society when there is a leading individual who gives such problems an emotional configuration for other people to understand the need to address harmful norms in the society. From a personal perspective, I see Bottings argument as a quest to give voice to human rights violations that may not appear as such in some cultures and political settings. This is to say that if we give human rights imaginary settings as claimed by some scholars in their interpretation of what constitutes rights, we will fail to accept past wrongs that need to be rectified for future generations to live in a better society.
Personally, I consider the analogy relating womens rights to unicorns and witches to be central to the emotional voice that Botting proposes in the quest for equality of the sexes. For example, she indicates that women have been tortured and persecuted for suspicion of being witches not because they are witches but their femaleness. The optimism expressed here is that the emotional voice can be used to fight the wickedness that society has subjected women for centuries. And this process must involve a lot of suffering like the one women experienced before their subconscious rose against injustice. However, the fact that fellow women commit some of the human rights violations casts doubts on the existence of the basis to justify universal human rights and women human rights while solidifying previous scholarly claims of abstractness of such rights.
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