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ScholarOne - The Right to Have Rights as the Collective Right of a People―An Interpretation of Hannah Arendt’s Concept of the Right to Have Rights
  • Kun-Feng Tu
Kun-Feng Tu
National Sun Yat-sen University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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This paper interprets Hannah Arendt’s concept of the right to have rights (RthRs) as the collective right of a people, arguing that it is a right to build relationships equally and freely with other peoples around the world. The paper first reviews the existing literature on the concept and argue against Seyla Benhabib’s reading of it. By reading and interpreting Arendt’s text, I contend that the RthRs is (1) the right to politics, (2) the power of a people, which I refer to the power of a “polity” in Arendt’s sense, and (3) the people’s power to political actions. Such a reading attempts to explore the meaning of the RthRs as what I called the collective right of a people, which refers to neither declaration of sovereign independence nor self-determination but to equal and free collective action, that is, to act as who we are amongst other peoples (including but not limited to existing sovereign states) around the world. The paper finally explicates why such a reading of the RthRs matters to global politics today and concludes my interpretation of Arendt’s concept of the RthRs.
01 Sep 2023Submitted to Advance
27 Mar 2024Published in Advance