Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Approach / Edition 1by Michael Freeman
Pub. Date: 12/02/2002
Human Rights is an introductory text that is both innovative and challenging. It invites students to think conceptually about one of the most important and influential political concepts of our time. In this unique interdisciplinary approach, Michael Freeman emphasizes the complex ways in which the experiences of the victims of human rights violations are related to legal, philosophical and social-scientific approaches to human rights.
By tracing the history of the concept, the book shows that there is a fundamental tension between the philosophy of human rights and the way in which it is understood in the social sciences. This analysis throws light on some of the most controversial issues in the field: Is the idea of the universality of human rights consistent with respect for cultural difference? Are there collective human rights? Should feminists embrace, revise or reject the idea of human rights? Does the idea of human rights distract our attention from the structural causes of oppression and exploitation? What are the underlying causes of human rights violations? And why do some countries have much worse human rights records than others?
The book will appeal to students in the social sciences, as well as students of human rights law who want an introduction to the non-legal aspects of their subject. It will also be read by scholars interested in ethics and the social sciences, as well as the general reader.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction: thinking about human rights.
Realities, Concepts, The social sciences, Beyond human rights law, Conclusion.
Chapter 2 Origins: the rise and fall of natural rights.
Why history? On rights and tyrants, Justice and rights, Natural rights, The age of revolutions, The decline of natural rights.
Chapter 3 After 1945: the new age of rights.
The UN and the human rights revival, The Universal Declaration, From theory to practice: (a)The Cold War, (b)After the Cold War, Conclusion.
Chapter 4 Theories of human rights.
Why theory? Human rights theory: (a) Rights (b) Other values (c) Human nature (d) Conflicts of rights (e) Democracy (f) Conclusion.
Chapter 5 The role of the social sciences.
Introduction: human rights and social science, The dominance of law, Political science, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, International relations, Conclusion.
Chapter 6 Universality, diversity and difference: culture and human rights.
The problem of cultural imperialism, Cultural relativism, Minority rights, Indigenous peoples, The right to self-determination, The rights of women.
Chapter 7 Idealism, realism and repression: the politics of human rights.
The real politics of human rights, The boomerang theory, The national politics of human rights, The statistics of human rights, NGOs in world politics.
Chapter 8 Development and Globalization: economics and human rights.
Development versus human rights? The right to development, Globalization, International financial institutions, Economic and social rights.
Chapter 9 Conclusion: human rights in the twenty-first century.
Learning from history, Objections to human rights, Problems of intervention, Concluding remarks.
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