Capital Rights: Human Rights Education and Neoliberal Pedagogies

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


This chapter explores how inequality and rights violations are legitimated and discursively organised by the prevailing discourses on Human Rights and Transformative Constitutionalism (HR&TC). Our case example is post-1994 South Africa, focusing on the notions of HR&TC as idolatry that generate a fictitious narrative of inclusive socio-economic and cultural-political progress in the ‘aftermath’ of apartheid, but we also extend our argument to the global human rights discourse. This narrative, into which HRE is hooked, produces a phantasmal ‘reality’. It follows, so we argue, that mainstream HRE does not have the praxes-related resources to escape the logic of neoliberal pedagogies and thus does not work against the economisation of rights and its conversion into capital rights. Consistent with our overarching project on CHRE, we suggest critique as a strategy to work against idolatry for HRE to contribute to developing antidotes to the phantasmagoria.


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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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