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Human Rights Culture in the European Union


Anno accademico 2017/2018

Codice dell'attività didattica
Angela Condello (Titolare del corso)
Corso di studi
laurea magistrale in Filosofia
1° anno
Periodo didattico
Secondo semestre
A scelta dello studente
SSD dell'attività didattica
SPS/02 - storia delle dottrine politiche
Modalità di erogazione
Lingua di insegnamento
Modalità di frequenza
Tipologia d'esame


English text


Sommario insegnamento


Obiettivi formativi


Human Rights Culture in the European Union (HRC-EU) is a Jean Monnet Module directed by Prof. Angela Condello. The course aims at enhancing the knowledge of European policies among students of humanities by means of the analysis of what can be defined a "European human rights culture". Europe is undoutebly going through processes that are challenging its juridical, political, and cultural identities: multi-level governance, migration fluxes, legal pluralism and clashes of legal cultures. Identifying a common space of construction of a European human rights culture is thus of crucial importance in order to understand and confront the contemporary socio-cultural transformations also among students of the humanities and not only among law students and researchers.


Prof. Condello will discuss with the students the European human rights culture by means of a particular methodology: the European human rights culture will be depicted starting from the conflicts arising from paradigmatic cases decided by the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights jurisdictions (such as, for instance, Google v. Spain). For each of the six titles of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (dignity; freedoms; equality; solidarity; citizens' rights; justice) - up to five cases will be selected and discussed during class. For each of these, the candidate will: i. examine and illustrate the juridical aspects involved in the case; ii. interact with the students in order to trace a historical-political and a cultural genealogy of the conflicts that have originated with the cases and that have led to those decisions. The case-study approach will allow to analyze the limits of the positive values written in the Convention and in the Charter. 



Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi


The evaluation will be based on an oral discussion. The exam will be centered on the understanding of key notions and theses and on a critical analysis of the main themes developed during the course. The instructor will assess students' argumentative abilities and the depth of the theoretical understanding. 

Students will have to demonstrate:
- a deep knowledge of the themes and of the questions illustated during the course;
- analytical and argumentative abilities in the discussion;
- the capacity to integrate different philosophical and juridical notions;
- the capacity to manage the new notions concrening the themes discussed during the course.


Modalità di insegnamento


Lectures. The evaluation will be based on an oral discussion


Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento


To meet the course requirements the students will have to show the ability to present and analyze the topics developed at class; a good mastery of the scientific lexicon; the ability to identify connections and relations of interdependence among the notions and the theses studied during the course. The final grade is based on a scale of thirty.




The course develps around two main PARTS.

PART ONE: European Human Rights Culture

a. Historical-philosophical Framework

The first part of course will offer general overview of human rights law and policies in the European Union. Moreover this part of the course will concern the processes that are challenging Europe's juridical, political, and cultural identities, namely: multi-level governance, migration fluxes, clashes between legal cultures, and phenomena of legal pluralism.

The analysis will aim at imagining a space of construction of the European human rights culture.

The Module leader will illlustrate:


-          the introduction to the modern theories on human rights and on the concept of "fundamental right"

-          how the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights function

-          the different characteristics of the Convention and of the Charter against the background of the European political institutions

-          the most significant processes of historical-political and cultural transformation in contemporary Europe


b. Methodological Approach: Debates, Conflicts and the normativity of paradigmatic cases (24 hours)

The Module leader will show the students the differences between a legal culture based on positive norms and a legal culture based on paradigmatic decisions and debates. The general premise will be: it is impossible to define a juridical culture (and a human rights culture in particular) in general terms and once for all. This term, 'culture', when applied to law, is too broad and too complex: its meaning cannot be established only through positive norms.

The paradigmatic cases on which the candidate will work together with the students embody a peculiar form of normativity embedded in the extra-legal reality, and yet they have an unquestionable juridical force: they have an influence both in the public debates and in the political unconscious. An intrinsic connection between normativity and culture will be shown by the exemplary cases, which offer the opportunity to reflect on the long-standing relationship between values and conventions. The Module leader will work on the reconstruction of the genealogy of the paradigmatic cases in order to establish how the human rights culture evolves within the European Union.

Natural law will re-emerge through exemplarity in the form of the "just" reason in the specific case: the single narrative in the single case challenges the ratio legis by proposing a new and different ratio.


PART TWO: Philosophy of Human Rights: Critical Perspectives


a. Philosophies of human right and current debates


The topic of fundamental human rights represents a traditional question of the philosophical-juridical discourse. This question has developed since the rise of the modern debate on natural law inaugurated by authors such as Grotius, Pufendorf and Kant. The main lines of research in the field of human rights will be analyzed:

-foundationalism: the validity of human rights has a strict bond to their juridical codification. Foundationalism builds a logical legitimation of the necessity of fundamental human rights;

-philosophical-political approach: human rights are discussed in the frame of a specific political horizon and in the frame of the effects that the discussion produces. This line of research has been mainly developed by John Rawls and Charles Beitz and focuses on the political performativity of human rights;

-progressive approach: human rights represent the key-element for understanding the progress of human mind. From this perspective, the consolidation and the development of human rights entails a more inclusive, open and democratic society. This theoretical horizon has mainly been developed by Norberto Bobbio.



b. Philosophical analysis of the rights


In particular the Module leader will analyse the concepts outlined by the European Charter of Fundamental Rights:


  • dignity
  • freedoms
  • equality
  • solidarity
  • citizens' rights
  • justice


The Module leader will proceed according to these six titles to avoid the risk of overlap in the choice of the cases and the debates. By using these titles as criteria also for the analysis of the ECHR jurisprudence, more homogeneity will be provided to the research.


Testi consigliati e bibliografia



English text


Orario lezioni

Lunedì8:00 - 10:00Aula di Antica Palazzo Nuovo - Piano secondo
Martedì8:00 - 10:00Aula di Antica Palazzo Nuovo - Piano secondo
Mercoledì8:00 - 10:00Aula di Antica Palazzo Nuovo - Piano secondo

Lezioni: dal 23/04/2018 al 06/06/2018




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Ultimo aggiornamento: 02/05/2018 15:27
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