The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights: Between the Universal and the Particular

Grewal, Kiran. 2016. The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights: Between the Universal and the Particular. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781472414892 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

This book examines discourses of rights and practices of resistance in post-conflict societies, exploring the interaction between the international human rights framework and different actors seeking political and social change. Presenting detailed new case studies from Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Kosovo, it reveals the necessity of social scientific interventions in the field of human rights. The author shows how a shift away from the realm of normative political or legal theory towards a more sociological analysis promises a better understanding of both the limits of current human rights approaches and possible sites of potential.

Considering the diverse ways in which human rights are enacted and mobilised, The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights engages with major sites of tension and debate, examining the question of whether human rights are universal or culturally relative; their relationship to forms of economic and political domination; the role of law as a mechanism for social change and the ways in which the language of human rights facilitates or closes sites of radical resistance. By situating these debates in specific contexts, this book concludes by proposing new ways of theorizing human rights.

Empirically grounded and offering an alternate framework for understanding the fluid and ambiguous operation of power within the theory and practice of human rights, this volume will appeal to scholars of sociology, law and politics with interests in gender, resistance, international law, human rights and socio-legal discourse.

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23 June 2016

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07 Nov 2017 12:20

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10 Mar 2021 16:33


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