Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Yahyaoui Krivenko, E.
Systems Theory and Human Rights
The Relevance of Human Rights in a Global Society: A Luhmannian perspective
University of Lancaster, UK
Invited Paper
Optional Fields
The presentation considers contribution of Luhmann’s systems theory to the understanding, analysis and development of human rights theory and practice. Luhmann’s own voluminous heritage contains only some tentative suggestions regarding the role of international human rights from the perspective of systems theory. Moreover, interpretation of these suggestions is complicated by some uncertainties surrounding Luhmann’s observations regarding the impact of globalization on the legal and the political systems. This is particularly obvious if contemporary interpretations of Luhmann’s systems theory and human rights are considered. I will argue that despite these shortcomings and uncertainties Luhmann’s systems theory holds a great potential for a better understanding of the functioning of human rights and can provide a basis for future reform proposals. However, this is only possible if systems theory is enriched by additional insights on its various aspects. One of these aspects relates to the relationship between the mechanisms and needs of the global society and the politico-legal system’s claim to universality through human rights. I will address this point through an interpretation of the 1975 Luhmann’s piece ‘Weltgesellschaft’ where Luhmann opposes traditional preference of social systems for normatively oriented mechanisms to the preference of the global society for cognitive mechanisms. Developments after 1975 indicate that the global society indeed requires cognitive mechanisms. Can human rights under such circumstances maintain their relevance for the global society and respond to its needs? What changes and adaptations might be required? What additional research is needed in order to answer these questions?
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy