Erudite and timely, this book is a key contribution to the renewal of radical theory and politics. Addressing the paradox of a contemporary humanitarianism that has abandoned politics in favour of combating evil, Douzinas, a leading scholar and author in the field of human rights and legal theory, considers the most pressing international questions. Asking whether there 'is an intrinsic relationship between human rights and the recent wars carried out in their name?' and whether 'human rights are a barrier against domination and oppression or the ideological gloss of an emerging empire?' this book examines a range of topics, including: the normative characteristics, political philosophy and metaphysical foundations of our age the subjective and institutional aspects of human rights and their involvement in the creation of identity and definition of the meaning and powers of humanity the use of human rights as a justification for a new configuration of political, economic and military power. Exploring the legacy and the contemporary role of human rights, this topical and incisive book is a must for all those interested in human rights law, jurisprudence and philosophy of law, political philosophy and political theory.