Towards a political sociology of human rights

Nash, Kate. 2012. Towards a political sociology of human rights. In: Kate Nash; Edwin Amenta and Alan Scott, eds. The New Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology. Chichester, West Sussex; Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 444-453. ISBN 9781444330939 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Why are sociologists increasingly interested in human rights? Once we understand human rights as social constructions rather than as moral absolutes or as legal entitlements (the latter being the most common way of seeing them in an area of study that is dominated by legal experts), it is clear that sociologists have an important role in investigating the specific historical, cultural, and geo-political conditions that make it possible to secure respect for human rights in practice. Human rights are social in that they are constructed and sustained in ongoing practices that orient and organise intentions and actions. Although they may be claimed by individuals, it is only through collective meanings and institutions that they can be effective. In addition, sociologists may be interested in the often unintended effects of the institutionalisation of human rights on other aspects of social life. The chapter rehearses some of the most important areas to be developed for a sociology of human rights: globalization and state transformation; organizations, legalization and the limits of law; subjectivity and solidarity.

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Date Deposited:

13 Dec 2010 09:43

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:30


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