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The location of international practices: what is human rights practice?


This article opens up space to challenge state-centrism about human rights practice. To do so, it presents and critically assesses four methods that can be used to determine who and/or what counts as a part of any international practice: the agreement method, which locates a practice by referring to speech acts that define it; the contextual method, which locates a practice by referring to the actions, meanings, and intentions of practitioners; the value method, which locates a practice by identifying a value or principle that the practice reflects or instantiates; and the purpose method, which locates a practice by constructing an account of the sociopolitical reason(s) for a practice's existence. The purpose method, based on an interpretation of Rawls' constructivism, is developed, in a way that focuses on practitioners' judgement-based reasons to assign responsibility for human rights to any state or non-state actor.

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Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
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