This article argues that human rights law – which mediates between claims about universal human nature, on the one hand, and hard-fought political battles, on the other – is in particular need of a richer exchange between jurisprudential approaches and social science theory and methods. Using the example of the Inter-American Human Rights System, the article calls for more human rights scholarship with a new realist sensibility. It demonstrates in what ways legal and social science scholarship on human rights law both stand to improve through sustained, thoughtful exchange.
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