10. Universal Human Rights as a Shared Political Identity: Impossible? Necessary? Sufficient?

  1. Ronald Tinnevelt associate professor2 and
  2. Helder De Schutter assistant professor3
  1. Andreas Føllesdal Ph.D. professor of political philosophy director

Published Online: 20 APR 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444328288.ch10

Global Democracy and Exclusion

Global Democracy and Exclusion

How to Cite

Føllesdal, A. (2010) Universal Human Rights as a Shared Political Identity: Impossible? Necessary? Sufficient?, in Global Democracy and Exclusion (eds R. Tinnevelt and H. De Schutter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444328288.ch10

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Netherlands

  2. 3

    Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Author Information

  1. Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Oslo, Norway

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 APR 2011
  2. Published Print: 22 OCT 2010

Book Series:

  1. Metaphilosophy Series in Philosophy

Book Series Editors:

  1. Armen T. Marsoobian,
  2. Brian J. Huschle and
  3. Eric Cavallero

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444335682

Online ISBN: 9781444328288



  • universal human rights, a shared political identity - impossible? necessary? sufficient?;
  • human rights scholars, and present popularity of human rights talk;
  • roles for human rights, citizens' “common political identity” - in a stable legitimate political order;
  • requisite common political identity - unique to members of political order;
  • sense of community and need for trust - common identity, need for trust among citizens;
  • principles of legitimacy, for political institutions - and constitutional norms;
  • shared commitment, grounds for common principles - necessary or desirable;
  • common political identity, not requiring that components - be endorsed only by citizens, and not by others;
  • Habermas's nominees, the French Revolution - scepticism about market efficiency, trust in state capacity;
  • abstract sense of justice, in day-to-day lives - legitimate expectations, about behaviour here and now


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • A Sense of Community and the Need for Trust

  • Components of Common Identity

  • Objections Considered

  • Conclusion

  • Acknowledgments

  • References