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Publication Citation

27 Indiana J. Global Legal Studies 1 (2020)


This analysis consists of three principal parts. First, it briefly

reviews the classical contract account that explains how and why

individuals enter civil society, found in the writings of both Hobbes and

Locke. The analysis then examines the limited extent to which classical

contract theory treats questions of rights vindication or, in more modern

terms, with questions of access to justice. Second, the analysis examines

the nature of collective and diffuse rights claims and will make a case

for their importance in the modern world. Third, the analysis seeks to

identify arguments from the classical account that might be useful in

the context of trying to vindicate what we now call collective and diffuse

rights. In this connection, this reflection analyzes the possibilities for

and limitations of, if any, classical contract theory to accommodate

modern collective and diffuse rights claims. Without question, the

analysis will thus at times paint with a very broad brush. However, the

aim is not to provide an exhaustive analysis of the response (or not) of

classical contract theory to the challenge presented by collective and

diffuse rights questions, but rather to begin to trace out the relation of

classical contract theory to these rights claims, which are of evergrowing

importance today.

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