Human Rights, Movements and Law: On not researching legitimacy

Nash, Kate. 2012. Human Rights, Movements and Law: On not researching legitimacy. Sociology, 46(5), pp. 797-812. ISSN 0038-0385 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores the relationship between social movements, human rights and law at different scales. I compare ‘global constitutionalism’ and ‘subaltern cosmopolitanism’ as approaches to movements, rights and law. As Sociologists we are especially well-placed to address certain assumptions on which these inter-disciplinary approaches rely. I argue that assumptions about the relationship between social movements and human rights that are fundamentally normative limit our understanding of the diversity of organisational forms through which human rights are being defined, and of the complexity of multi-scalar law through which claims to justice are being made. In particular, the importance of the state and national law for institutionalising human rights norms should not be neglected by privileging either local or international law as the legitimate focus of democratic claims for justice.

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social movements; NGOs; legal pluralism; subaltern cosmopolitanism; global constitutionalism; states

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Unit for Global Justice (UGJ)


October 2012Published

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Date Deposited:

14 May 2012 10:00

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2021 11:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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