Volume 31 > No 7

Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl (book review)


—Rashmi Venkatesan*

Ratna Kapur’s book, Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl, is a much needed, well timed, radical critique of the current human rights praxis. While Kapur does acknowledge the value of liberal rights, she argues that they “cannot give us what we do want – that is, freedom”.1 It makes an impassioned case for looking both beyond and away from human rights as a means to achieving human freedom. Kapur’s book is an invitation for human rights critics and practitioners to imagine other possibilities of freedom, to explore other ways of ‘being’ free, and ultimately to escape the liberal‘fishbowl’ of human rights. Locating itself “in the aftermath of the critique of human rights”, the book sets an ambitious yet critical task for itself, i.e, what next? Or, what else, if not human rights?

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