It Is Time: Critical Human Rights Education in an Age of Counter-Hegemonic Distrust

  • Michalinos Zembylas
  • André Keet
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 13)


This chapter summarises the global dominance of human rights discourse and the well-established international consensus on its importance, focusing on how HRE has proliferated from the mid-1990s onwards. Instead of advancing criticality as a central purpose of education, however, HRE, as co-constructed within the agencies of the United Nations, became the uncritical legitimating arm of human rights universals. Thus, it has ultimately contributed to the counter-hegemonic distrust in human rights that we experience today. Popular and dominant formulations of HRE, we argue, lack the conceptual and practical resources to be transformative, let alone emancipatory. Steering our reasoning through the historical development of HRE, we conclude that the time for Critical Human Rights Education has arrived.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michalinos Zembylas
    • 1
  • André Keet
    • 2
  1. 1.Open University of CyprusLatsiaCyprus
  2. 2.Nelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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