Ontologies and possibilities of human rights: exploring dissensus to facilitate reconciliation in post-conflict education contexts

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    In light of growing critique of human rights and human rights education, this article explores ontologies of human rights, the possibilities they present for dissensus and how this could influence human rights education in post-conflict education contexts towards reconciliation. We draw on Dembour’s (2010) categorisation of the different schools of human rights and Ranciere’s (2004) two forms of rights to explore possible constructing points of dissensus. The data obtained in a NRF funded project Human rights literacy: A quest for meaning (Roux, 2012), indicate that student-teachers are disillusioned by human rights and perceive a conflict between what human rights are (contextual) and could (idealistic) be. While we concur with Keet (2015) that there is a need for “Critical Human Rights Education” (Keet, 2015) we focus on human action and the structuring of dissensus within political, social and educational spaces as crucial to the continual formulation, claims, rejection, amendments and recognition of human rights. In conclusion, we pose that human rights education should be a continual dissonant process, enabling moments of dissensus within intersecting spaces of (non)existing rights.