ECR2P Seminar Series: The Limits Of Common Humanity

ECR2P invites you all to the third event in its seminar series this semester!

The Limits Of Common Humanity: Motivating The Responsibility To Protect In A Changing Global Order

Speaker: Dr Samuel Jarvis, York St John University

Photo of Dr Samuel Jarvis


Abstract: What motivates states to protect populations threatened by mass atrocities beyond their own borders? Most often, states and their representatives appeal to the principle of common humanity, acknowledging a conscience-shocking quality that demands a moral response. But though the idea of a common humanity is powerful, the question remains: to what extent is it effective in motivating action? In response, my book provides an ambitious interdisciplinary response to this question, theorising the role of humanity as a motivational concept by building on insights from international relations, political philosophy, and international law. Through this analysis, I examine the influence the concept of humanity has had on the creation and mission of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) commitment while highlighting the challenges that have restricted its application in practice. By providing a new framework for thinking about how political, legal, and moral arguments interact during the process of collective decision-making, I will explore the contradictory ways in which states approach the protection of human beings from mass atrocity crimes, both domestically and internationally. In the context of a rapidly changing global order, there is a timely need to reappraise the R2P concept and its future application, arguing for a more politically motivated response to human protection that moves beyond an appeal for morality.
Registration link: