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The Work of Global Justice
Human Rights as Practices


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Part of Cambridge Cultural Social Studies

  • Date Published: October 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521673914

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About the Authors
  • Human rights have been generally understood as juridical products, organizational outcomes or abstract principles that are realized through formal means such as passing laws, creating institutions or formulating ideals. In this book, Fuyuki Kurasawa argues that we must reverse this 'top-down' focus by examining how groups and persons struggling against global injustices construct and enact human rights through five transnational forms of ethico-political practice: bearing witness, forgiveness, foresight, aid and solidarity. From these, he develops a new perspective highlighting the difficult social labour that constitutes the substance of what global justice is and ought to be, thereby reframing the terms of debates about human rights and providing the outlines of a critical cosmopolitanism centred around emancipatory struggles for an alternative globalization.

    • An interdisciplinary study drawing from the fields of sociology, political science, international studies, philosophy, law and literature
    • Develops a critical and substantive theory of human rights, focused on the making and doing of global justice, rather than formal law and institutions
    • Analyses the different components of five key forms of human rights social practice: bearing witness, forgiveness, foresight, aid and solidarity
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    • Society for the Study of Social Problems, Global Division - 2009 best book award

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Human rights have come to the forefront of attention in both political theory and public practice. But too often the treatment in theory has been so abstract it doesn't inform practice as it might - and it doesn't learn from practice as it should. Fuyuki Kurasawa's new book helps to bridge this divide, addressing key questions such as the meaning of bearing witness, the search for foresight, the ways in which forgiveness and aid work, and the ideal of transnational solidarity. His voice is both humane and scholarly; his text will be helpful to readers across a range of disciplines.' Craig Calhoun, President of the Social Science Research Council

    'Fuyuki Kurasawa creates an original but necessary outlook on the ambivalences of our world by examining global justice as social labour. His central questions ask how does an alternative world order based on the work of global justice become possible and how are widely discussed cosmopolitan ideas put into practice from below? A wonderful, rich empirical study, theoretically enlightened, with striking insights - a must-read.' Ulrich Beck, Professor of Sociology, University of Munich and London School of Economics and Political Science

    'Focusing on the 'work' by which global justice is 'produced', Fuyuki Kurasawa takes an entirely new approach to the subject. Analyzing the social practices of a wide range of transnational activists, he enriches our understanding of the ethical and political challenges of globalization. The result is a genuinely original and insightful book.' Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics, New School for Social Research

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521673914
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction. Theorizing the work of global justice
    1. A message in a bottle: on bearing witness
    2. The healing of wounds: on forgiveness
    3. Cautionary tales: on foresight
    4. The stranger's keeper: on aid
    5. Cosmopolitanism from below: on solidarity
    Conclusion. Enacting a critical cosmopolitanism.

  • Author

    Fuyuki Kurasawa, York University, Toronto
    Fuyuki Kurasawa is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social and Political Thought at York University in Toronto, Canada, Faculty Fellow of the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University and Co-President of the International Sociological Association's Research Committee on Sociological Theory. He is the author of The Ethnological Imagination: A Cross-Cultural Critique of Modernity (2004).


    • Society for the Study of Social Problems, Global Division - 2009 best book award

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