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The Political Sociology of Human Rights



Part of Key Topics in Sociology

  • Author: Kate Nash, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Date Published: July 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521148474


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About the Authors
  • The language of human rights is the most prominent 'people-centred' language of global justice today. This textbook looks at how human rights are constructed at local, national, international and transnational levels and considers commonalities and differences around the world. Through discussions of key debates in the interdisciplinary study of human rights, the book develops its themes by considering examples of human rights advocacy in international organisations, national states and local grassroots movements. Case studies relating to specific organisations and institutions illustrate how human rights are being used to address structural injustices: imperialist geopolitics, authoritarianism and corruption, inequalities created by 'freeing' markets, dangers faced by transnational migrants as a result of the securitization of borders, and violence against women.

    • Presents debates alongside case studies, helping students to understand not only how others have approached the study of human rights but how they might approach it themselves
    • Explains the complexities of achieving respect for human rights in practice using simple, clear language but without recourse to simplistic formulations and solutions
    • Discusses contemporary examples of human rights issues: social and economic (poverty, displacement) and cultural (group rights to protection of ways of life), as well as civil and political (state killing, detention of migrants) and those that do not easily fit into existing categories (violence against women)
    • Gives close attention to activism, organisations and structures in the global south as well as the northwest
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The idea of human rights is at once widely accepted, unevenly implemented, and recurrently challenged. It is thus crucial to study how human rights work (and sometimes fail to work despite apparent agreement), who brings claims and how they are met. Kate Nash's The Political Sociology of Human Rights does this with insight and clarity and it deserves wide attention.' Craig Calhoun, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'The Political Sociology of Human Rights is a very thorough treatment of the multiple dimensions of human rights and of the various actors involved in different parts of the world. It contests common assumptions and uses concrete examples to combine theoretical clarity with political concern. This book should be read by anybody committed to the building of a better world.' Evelina Dagnino, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil

    'The study of human rights is inevitably confronted by conundrums: who can enforce them? Who can pay for them? Are they universal? Kate Nash boldly addresses these problems with a sure command of the literature and brings a fresh sociological perspective to these legal and political issues. The Political Sociology of Human Rights is a textbook that will enlighten students but equally guide the research of established scholars.' Bryan S. Turner, Graduate Center, City University of New York

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521148474
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The social construction of human rights
    2. (A) human rights movement(s) and other organisations
    3. States of human rights
    4. The United Nations: not a world state
    5. Humanising capitalism
    6. Women's rights are human rights
    7. Do migrants have rights?
    8. What works? Paradoxes in the human rights field.

  • Author

    Kate Nash, Goldsmiths, University of London
    Kate Nash is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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