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Title: Human rights and the European Union : the irony of a bifurcated narrative
Author: Williams, Andrew Trevor
ISNI:       0000 0001 2418 7357
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2002
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Human rights remain an ambiguous and complex subject in the European Union. Although the instances of policies involving human rights issues have attained an increasing presence over the past thirty years there has been an institutional reluctance to mould a unified human rights policy worthy of the name. However, the EU's human rights practices have not been constructed in a wholly random way. They have evolved within discrete policy realms along coherent narrative lines. Specifically they have followed a bifurcated pattern. Internally, human rights are contingent. They are often referred to as "fundamental rights" signifying an underlying conception that owns a restricted definition based on a distinct European heritage. Scrutiny is erratic even casual. Enforcement is left to the Courts and other agencies. Externally, the story is different. Human rights are broad in concept. Collective notions of rights are adopted. Scrutiny can be intrusive and effective. Systems of enforcement, increasingly severe in scope and strength, have been applied. Despite the extent of this internal/external bifurcation, little academic or institutional attention has been paid to the subject. This thesis attempts to rectify the omission. In analysing the history of the EU's human rights stories, it details the extent of the bifurcation phenomenon and reveals the genesis of its central discriminatory practice. It claims that by failing to address human rights in its early period other than in mythical terms the EU's discourse provided an environment whereby rights became implicated in the representation of European identity as superior and non- Europe as morally and ethically deficient. EU human rights practice developed with this key understanding imbedded in its narrative structure. A sense of irony, provoked by double-standards and discrimination, thus accompanies the EU's rights discourse rendering the EU's role in rights action suspect and the prospects for one unified policy remote.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: KJ-KKZ European law Law Law enforcement Prisons Political science Public administration