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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: September 2009

8 - Marxian embraces (and de-couplings) in Upendra Baxi's human rights scholarship: a case study

Summary

Introduction

For a remarkably long period of time, the world over, Marxist ideas ‘held a special fascination for movements seeking to transform economic, political, and social conditions in favour of the “have-nots”’. But the not-too-distant fall of what was widely regarded as ‘actually existing socialism’ has led all too many commentators to declare (with varying degrees of thoughtfulness or the lack thereof) that the Marxian thought that seemed to inspire and animate that system had ‘thus been rendered nugatory’. Yet, there is increasing recognition among an epistemic community of those knowledgeable in the intricacies of Marxian and other socio-political thought that these sorts of announcements of the complete and total negation of the broadly Marxian theory of social, political and economic life are far too non-nuanced and totalising as to be accurate. Some, like Brad Roth and Martti Koskenniemi, have even gone as far as arguing (in separate papers) that Marx can even be retrieved to further the ends of either the human rights movement or of international law more generally.

It is in this broad tradition of critical reflection on the continued (however limited) influence of Marxian thought on social scientific and international legal scholarship that this chapter is conceived.

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