Globalization and Human Rights / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $2.48
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $2.48   
  • New (5) from $16.73   
  • Used (8) from $2.48   


In this landmark volume, Alison Brysk has assembled an impressive array of scholars to address new questions about globalization and human rights. Is globalization generating both problems and opportunities? Are new problems replacing or intensifying state repression? How effective are new forms of human rights accountability?

These essays include theoretical analyses by Richard Falk, Jack Donnelly, and James Rosenau. Chapters on sex tourism, international markets, and communications technology bring new perspectives to emerging issues. The authors investigate places such as the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

The contemporary world is defined by globalization. While global human rights standards and institutions have been established, assaults on human dignity continue. These essays identify the new challenges to be faced, and suggest new ways to remedy the costs of globalization.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

David P. Forsythe
A useful examination of an important subject. This work adds important insights into human rights and globalization, a subject that is sure to remain at the center of debate for a considerable time.
Kathryn Sikkink
Brysk and her collaborators have produced the most systematic and comprehensive study to date of globalization and human rights. The authors move the debate forward by mapping out the impact of diverse forms of globalization on different types of rights, concluding that globalization can both exploit and empower, depending on the form of globalization and the type of state.
Foreign Affairs
The most systematic attempt yet to untangle the often contradictory impacts of globalization on human rights. Transnational integration and increased mobility can simultaneously strengthen and diminish the protection of individual rights and the dignity of individuals. Globalized markets have facilitated more monitoring of social conditions but have also opened up more opportunities for economic exploitation. At the same time, information flows have emboldened human rights campaigns and fostered transnational activist networks. Among the more intriguing contributions: Kristen Hill Maher shows that transnational migration tends to undercut human rights by creating vulnerable noncitizen populations; Richard Falk argues that globalization "from above" is eroding worker rights and social protections, but globalization "from below" is creating an emergent global civil society, and Wayne Sandholtz argues that global society is creating new rules that allow forcible intervention to stop gross violations of basic rights. Most of the essays suggest that remedies for the threats and abuses of globalization require stronger global institutions. Less attention is focused on strengthening the state itself — even though that formula remains fundamental to the provision and protection of human rights.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520232389
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 321
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Brysk is Associate Professor of International Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Her previous publications include The Politics of Human Rights in Argentina: Protest, Change, and Democratization (1994) and From Tribal Village to Global Village: Indian Rights and International Relations in Latin America (2000).
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Transnational Threats and Opportunities
Alison Brysk

I. Citizenship
1. Who Has a Right to Rights?
Citizenship’s Exclusions in an Age of Migration
Kristen Hill Maher
2. Tourism, Sex Work, and Women’s Rights in the Dominican Republic
Amalia Lucia Cabezas

II. Commodification
3. Interpreting the Interaction of Global Markets and Human Rights
Richard Falk
4. Economic Globalization and Rights: An Empirical Analysis
Wesley T. Milner
5. Sweatshops and International Labor Standards: Globalizing Markets, Localizing Norms
Raul Pangalangan

III. Communication
6. The Ironies of Information Technology
Shane Weyker
7. Globalization and the Social Construction of Human Rights Campaigns
Clifford Bob
8. The Drama of Human Rights in a Turbulent, Globalized World
James Rosenau

IV. Cooperation
9. Transnational Civil Society and the World Bank Inspection Panel
Jonathan Fox
10. Humanitarian Intervention: Global Enforcement of Human Rights?
Wayne Sandholtz
11. Human Rights, Globalizing Flows, and State Power
Jack Donnelly

Conclusion: From Rights to Realities
Alison Brysk
Works Cited

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Globalization and Human Rights

The University of California Press

Copyright © 2002 Regents of the University of California
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-520-23238-0


Transnational Threats and Opportunities

Alison Brysk

Globalization-the growing interpenetration of states, markets, communications, and ideas across borders-is one of the leading characteristics of the contemporary world. International norms and institutions for the protection of human rights are more developed than at any previous point in history, while global civil society fosters growing avenues of appeal for citizens repressed by their own states. But assaults on fundamental human dignity continue, and the very blurring of borders and rise of transnational actors that facilitated the development of a global human rights regime may also be generating new sources of human rights abuse. Even as they are more broadly articulated and accepted, the rights of individuals have come to depend ever more on a broad array of global actors and forces, from ministries to multinationals to missionaries.

What are the patterns of the human rights impact of globalization? Are new problems replacing, intensifying, or mitigating state-sponsored repression? Are some dynamics of globalization generating both problems and opportunities? How can new opportunities be used to offset new problems? And how has the idea and practice of human rights influenced the process ofglobalization?

How does globalization-which liberals claim will promote development, democracy, personal empowerment, and global governance-instead present new challenges for human rights? Globalization is a package of transnational flows of people, production, investment, information, ideas, and authority (not new, but stronger and faster). Human rights are a set of claims and entitlements to human dignity, which the existing international regime assumes will be provided (or threatened) by the state. A more cosmopolitan and open international system should free individuals to pursue their rights, but large numbers of people seem to be suffering from both long-standing state repression and new denials of rights linked to transnational forces. The essays in this volume show that the challenge of globalization is that unaccountable flows of migration and open markets present new threats, which are not amenable to state-based human rights regimes, while the new opportunities of global information and institutions are insufficiently accessible and distorted by persistent state intervention.

The emergence of an "international regime" for human rights (Donnelly 1986), growing transnational social movement networks, increasing consciousness (Willetts 1996), and information politics have the potential to address both traditional and emerging forms of human rights violations. The United Nations has supervised human rights reform in El Salvador, Cambodia, and Haiti, while creating a new high commissioner for human rights. The first international tribunals since Nuremberg are prosecuting genocide in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Transnational legal accountability (Stephens and Ratner 1996) and humanitarian intervention promote universal norms and link them to the enforcement power of states. Thousands of nongovernmental organizations monitor and lobby for human rights from Tibet to East Timor (Boli and Thomas 1999). Alongside principled proponents such as Amnesty International, globalization has generated new forms of advocacy such as transnational professional networks (Doctors without Borders), global groups for conflict monitoring, and coalitions across transnational issues (Sierra Club-Amnesty International). New forms of communication allow victims to videotape their plight, advocates to flood governments with faxes, Web sites to mobilize urgent action alerts. But the effectiveness of global consciousness and pressure on the states, paramilitaries, and insurgents responsible for long-standing human rights violations varies tremendously. And access to the new global mechanisms is distributed unevenly, so that some of the neediest victims-such as the illiterate rural poor and refugee women-are the least likely to receive either global or domestic redress.

Beyond this interaction of new solutions with old problems, new human rights problems may result from the integration of markets, the shrinking of states, increased transnational flows such as migration, the spread of cultures of intolerance, and the decision-making processes of new or growing global institutions (Kofman and Youngs 1996; Mittelman 1996; Held 2000). The increasing presence of multinational corporations has challenged labor rights throughout Southeast Asia, along the Mexican border, and beyond. Increasing levels of migration worldwide make growing numbers of refugees and undocumented laborers vulnerable to abuse by sending and receiving states, as well as transnational criminal networks. Hundreds of Mexican nationals die each year crossing the U.S. border; in contrast, 450 German migrants were killed during forty years of Europeans crossing the Berlin Wall. International economic adjustment and the growth of tourism are linked to a rise in prostitution and trafficking in women and children, affecting millions in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the post-Soviet states and even the United States. The U.S. State Department estimates that one to two million persons each year are trafficked for various forms of forced labor and "modern-day slavery"-including almost 50,000 annually to the United States (Richard 1999). The same Internet that empowers human rights activists increases government monitoring, instructs neo-Nazis, and carries transnational death threats against dissenters. Unelected global institutions like the World Bank, international peacekeepers, and environmental NGOs administering protected areas increasingly control the lives of the most powerless citizens of weak states.

In this volume, we attempt to map new territory, bring together diverse perspectives, challenge conventional wisdom, and begin to cumulate research to address these questions and contradictions. Our aim is not to introduce a new theory of globalization, but rather to identify generalizable patterns from diverse developments. In order to make sense of these developments, we must first consider the general trends of human rights and globalization. Then we can map patterns in the globalized development of human rights threats and opportunities.

Human Rights in a Global Arena

Human rights are a set of universal claims to safeguard human dignity from illegitimate coercion, typically enacted by state agents. These norms are codified in a widely endorsed set of international undertakings: the "International Bill of Human Rights" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and International Covenant on Social and Economic Rights); phenomenon-specific treaties on war crimes (Geneva Conventions), genocide, and torture; and protections for vulnerable groups such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. International dialogue on human rights has produced a distinction between three "generations" of human rights, labeled for their historical emergence. Security rights encompass life, bodily integrity, liberty, and sometimes associated rights of political participation and democratic governance. Social and economic rights, highlighted in the eponymous International Covenant, comprise both negative and positive freedoms, enacted by states and others: prominently, rights to food, health care, education, and free labor. More recently discussed collective rights may include rights such as membership in a cultural community and access to a healthy environment (Chris Brown 1997). These "generations" of rights often involve different sets of actors and different levels of state accountability.

While the origins of the international human rights regime, U.S. foreign policy, NGO monitoring, and much previous scholarship have focused on security rights, this project will entertain a broader conception of linked political, social, and cultural rights grounded in the Universal Declaration. A focus on security rights may be desirable for clarity and manageability, as well as because security rights of life and freedom are "basic" or enabling rights that make the pursuit of other rights possible (Shue 1980). However, human rights claims have an inherently expanding character, which requires the consideration of every type of threat to human dignity under a range of changing social conditions. Thus, both liberty and survival may involve social issues, such as the right to free labor and to organize for better labor conditions. Some vulnerable groups, notably women and indigenous peoples, may face linked threats that emanate from public and private actors, and seek cultural freedoms to meaningfully participate in civic life. Furthermore, the very process of globalization blurs distinctions among categories of rights: humanitarian intervention seeks to rescue ethnic groups, women working as prostitutes are beaten by police for "bothering tourists" to feed their children, and rights to privacy and expression collide on the Internet (also see McCorquodale and Fairbrother 1999). In this volume, these linked rights can be delineated by granting priority to those rights that enable others and those violations that present the greatest harm to victims.

Human rights values derive from and are justified by reference to philosophical constructions of human nature, cultural and religious traditions, demands from civil society, and international influence. In practical importance, the latter two political factors are the most important source of human rights in the contemporary world (Perry 1998; Montgomery 1998). Accordingly, despite frequent violations in practice, international consensus has implanted human rights as a nearly universal vocabulary of debate, aspiration, and civic challenges to state legitimacy.

Analysts of human rights have identified a variety of psychological, social, economic, and political patterns that put societies "at risk" of human rights violations. These generally include authoritarian government, civil war, strong ethnic cleavages, weak civil society, power vacuums, critical junctures in economic development, and military dominance (Mitchell and McCormick 1988; Haas 1994; Donnelly 1998b). Above all, the study of human rights teaches us that human rights violations usually reflect a calculated (or manipulated) pursuit of political power, not inherent evil or ungovernable passions (Gurr 1984; Human Rights Watch 1995b). One of our first tasks is to analyze the effect of globalization on these risk factors.

The effect of globalization on state-based human rights violations will depend on the type of state and its history. In newly democratizing countries with weak institutions and elite-controlled economies (Russia, Latin America, Southeast Asia), the growth of global markets and economic flows tends to destabilize coercive forces but increase crime, police abuse, and corruption. Global mobility and information flows generally stimulate ethnic mobilization, which may promote self-determination in responsive states but more often produces collective abuses in defense of dominant-group hegemony. On the other hand, the same forces have produced slow institutional openings by less fragmented single-party states (like China and Mexico). In much of Africa, globalization has ironically increased power vacuums, by both empowering substate challengers and providing sporadic intervention, which displaces old regimes without consolidating new ones. Some of the most horrifying abuses of all have occurred in the transnationalized, Hobbesian civil wars of Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Congo.

But the literature on human rights has also moved beyond the conventional wisdom that situated human rights violations and remediation predominantly within the state, to suggest ways in which globalization creates new opportunities to challenge the state "from above and below" (Brysk 1993; Risse et al. 1999). Human rights research has produced both evidence of new capabilities for monitoring, pressure, and sanctions (Alston and Steiner 1996; Keck and Sikkink 1998), along with reports of new types and venues of abuse (Human Rights Watch 1996; Fields 1998; Rickard 1998; Peters and Wolper 1995). In general, analysts of globalization find that states' international integration improves security rights, but increases inequality and threatens the social rights of citizens (Crossette 2000; Milner 1998). However, neither economic development nor economic growth in and of themselves improve human rights performance (Montgomery 1998: 325; Amartya Sen 1999; Tan 1999). In addition to globalization and growth, findings on the effectiveness of international pressure on state human rights policy suggest that target states must be structurally accessible, internationally sensitive, and contain local human rights activists for linkage (Burgerman 1998; Sikkink 1993).

There is little systematic evidence available on the overall human rights impact of global flows and actors, and that which does exist is often contradictory. For example, quantitative studies that demonstrate improved security rights where MNCs (multinational corporations) are present (Meyer 1998) contrast with case studies documenting multinational reinforcement of state coercion and labor suppression (Arregui 1996; Ho et al. 1996). Other scholars suggest that the impact of multinationals depends more on their type of production, customer base, or sending country than their globalizing nature (Spar 1998). Similarly, some studies indicate that even within "economic globalization," different types of global economic flows at different times will have different impacts on democracy and human rights (for example, for Li and Reuveny 2000, trade is negative but foreign direct investment is positive). There is some basis for believing that new global human rights mechanisms, such as transnational NGO campaigns, may be particularly effective against transnational actors like multinationals. Analysts argue that transnational human rights threats can be most easily met by transnational human rights campaigns, since it is easier to access transnational actors than repressive states, transnationals cannot cloak their abuses in sovereignty rationales, global elites are increasingly amenable to "rights talk," and global civil society can provide local linkages for transnational networks (Rodman 1998; Brysk 2000a). The research in this volume suggests that the human rights impact of globalization depends on three types of factors: the type of globalization involved, the level of analysis addressed, and the type of state that is filtering globalizing flows.


Excerpted from Globalization and Human Rights Copyright © 2002 by Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)