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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.63, No.4, 623 ~ 641, 2017
A Story of Rights: From Word and Conceptualisation to Law and Cultural Narrative
Alan Durant
Humanities scholars have recently begun to use the phrase “narrating rights” as a way of describing an increasingly discussed area of intersection between legal, ethical, and literary topics. This article examines the conceptual basis and directions of that emergent area of work. It outlines features of “rights” as generally understood in law, along with relevant associated issues; it explains how, in the complex history of the English word rights, that word has conveyed different, often contested notions which persist into contemporary thinking; and it concludes with comments and queries regarding the challenges which face studies in humanities in using “narrative” as a way into understanding rights. In developing its arguments, the article highlights the interconnectedness of linguistic, literary and legal aspects of political and cultural topics, and encourages further interdisciplinary work.
Key Words
rights, keywords, narrative, Raymond Williams, word meaning
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