Rights at the Margins

Historical, Legal and Philosophical Perspectives


The essays in this volume explore the ways rights were available to those in the margins of society. By tracing pivotal judicial concepts such as ‘right of necessity’ and ‘subjective rights’ back to their medieval versions, and by situating them in unexpected contexts such as the Franciscans’ theory of poverty and colonization or today’s immigration and border control, this volume invites its readers to consider whether individual rights were in fact, or at least in theory, available to the marginalized. By focusing not only on the economically impoverished but also those who were disenfranchised because of disability, gender, race, religion or infidelity, this book also sheds light on the relationship between the early history of individual rights and social justice at the margins.

Contributors are: Wim Decock, Heikki Haara, Virpi Mäkinen, Alejandra Mancilla, Julia McClure, Ilse Paakkinen, Mikko Posti, Jonathan Robinson, John Salter, Pamela Slotte, and Jussi Varkemaa.

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Virpi Mäkinen is Senior Lecturer in Theological and Social Ethics at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She has published monographs and many articles on medieval and early modern intellectual history, including Property Rights in the Late Medieval Discussion on Franciscan Poverty (Peeters, 2001), and co-edited Transformations in Late Medieval and Early-Modern Rights Discourse (Springer, 2006).
Jonathan Robinson, Ph.D. (2010) in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. He currently acts as a lawyer and is the author of William of Ockham’s Theory of Property Rights in Context (Brill, 2012).
Pamela Slotte is Associate Professor of Minority Studies at the Åbo Akademi University, Finland. She is the co-author of The Juridification of Religion (Brill, 2017) and co-editor of Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
Heikki Haara is Senior Lecturer of Political History at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of Pufendorf’s Theory of Sociability: Passions, Habits and Social Order (Springer, 2018).
About the Authors

Introduction: Rights and Justice towards the Margins
Virpi Mäkinen, Jonathan Robinson and Pamela Slotte

PART 1: Rights and the Poor Law

1 Poverty and Need in the Fourteenth Century: Johannes Andreae, Bartolus of Saxoferrato, and Baldus de Ubaldis
Jonathan Robinson

2 Poor and Insolvent: Debtor Relief in Alvarez de Velasco’s De privilegiis pauperum (1630)
Wim Decock

PART 2: Rights, Duties and Justice

3 Inclination to Self-Preservation and Rights to Life and Body in Samuel Pufendorf’s Natural Law Theory
Heikki Haara

4 The Right of Necessity: From Hugo Grotius to Adam Smith
John Salter

PART 3: Rights Beyond the Margins

5 Rights and Needs: Widows as a Protected Group in Christine de Pizan’s Thought
Ilse Paakkinen

6 Can Animals Have Rights? Conrad Summenhart and Francisco de Vitoria at the Margins of Rights Language
Jussi Varkemaa

7 Whether Heretics and Infidels Can Possess Dominion Rights? Late Medieval and Early Modern Debates
Virpi Mäkinen and Mikko Posti

PART 4: Geopolitical, Global, and Contemporary Perspectives at the Margins

8 The Darker Side of Rights in Global Intellectual History: an Ambivalent Case of Franciscan Poverty
Julia McClure

9 Necessity Knows No Borders: the Right of Necessity and Illegalized Migration
Alejandra Mancilla

10 “Rights, Not Charity!” On Vocabularies for Conceptualizing the Case of Persons with Disabilities
Pamela Slotte

Index of names

Subject Index
All interested in the intellectual and legal history as well as the history of rights. Keywords: rights, natural rights, human rights, minority rights, territorial rights, natural law, poverty, right of necessity, law, contract law, gender, migration, capabilities, charity, colonization.
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