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Contesting Economic and Social Rights in Ireland
Constitution, State and Society, 1848–2016

$116.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

  • Date Published: August 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107155350

$ 116.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book presents a political understanding of socio-economic rights by contextualising constitution-makers' and judges' decision-making in terms of Ireland's rich history of people's struggles for justice 'from below' between 1848 and the present. Its theoretical framework incorporates critical legal studies and world-systems analysis. It performs a critical discourse analysis of constitution-making processes in 1922 and 1937 as well as subsequent property, trade union, family and welfare rights case law. It traces the marginalisation of socio-economic rights in Ireland from specific, local and institutional factors to the contested balance of core-peripheral and social relations in the world-system. The book demonstrates the endurance of ideological understandings of state constitutionalism as inherently neutral between interests. Unemployed marches, housing protestors and striking workers, however, provided important challenges and oppositional discourses. Recognising these enduring forms of power and ideology is vital if we are to assess critically the possibilities and limits of contesting socio-economic rights today.

    • Will appeal to those who wish to understand the political context and limits of socio-economic rights, as well as the often conflicting positions of state and civil society actors
    • Readers will gain an overview of transnational, socio-legal transformation from the late nineteenth to early twenty-first centuries - will appeal to those interested in the comparative and historical contexts of constitutions and human rights
    • Proposes a new political understanding of economic and social rights, incorporating their contestation 'from below' by social movements
    • Makes explicit the disjuncture between direct democratic forms of popular self-organisation and representative democratic forms such as the electoral party and constituent assembly
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107155350
    • length: 408 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 158 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 11 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the politics of economic and social rights
    1. Constitutions 'from below' in Ireland:
    2. 'Not alone personal liberty but economic freedom': socio-economic rights in the making of the 1922 Irish Free State Constitution
    3. 'Highly dangerous'? Socio-economic rights in the making of the 1937 Irish Constitution
    4. Contesting the Irish Constitution and the world-system:
    5. The polarities of justice and 'legal business'
    6. Contesting property rights
    7. Contesting trade union rights
    8. Contesting family, education and welfare rights
    9. Socio-economic rights and the value-consensus state
    10. Constitution 'from below' in Ireland:
    Conclusion: contesting economic and social rights today.

  • Author

    Thomas Murray, University College Dublin
    Dr Thomas Murray is Lecturer in Equality Studies at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin. His research focuses on law and society 'from below', with specific interests in economic and social rights, Irish and comparative constitutions, and world-systems analysis. Dr Murray obtained his PhD from the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, where the Irish Research Council helped fund his work. He subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at the Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla in Mexico, during which time he attended the Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Centre of Mayan Languages, Tzotzil and Spanish (CELMRAZ) in Oventic, Chiapas. He has presented his research to the European Consortium of Political Research, the Left Forum, Historical Materialism, the Political Studies Association of Ireland, the Irish Jurisprudence Society, and the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class. He has published in Social and Legal Studies, Irish Political Studies and the Journal of World-Systems Research. This is his first book.

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