The Human Rights Paradox: Universality and Its Discontents

The Human Rights Paradox: Universality and Its Discontents

by Steve J. Stern
     
 

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Human rights are paradoxical. Advocates across the world invoke the idea that such rights belong to all people, no matter who or where they are. But since humans can only realize their rights in particular places, human rights are both always and never universal.
            The Human Rights Paradox is

Overview

Human rights are paradoxical. Advocates across the world invoke the idea that such rights belong to all people, no matter who or where they are. But since humans can only realize their rights in particular places, human rights are both always and never universal.
            The Human Rights Paradox is the first book to fully embrace this contradiction and reframe human rights as history, contemporary social advocacy, and future prospect. In case studies that span Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and the United States, contributors carefully illuminate how social actors create the imperative of human rights through relationships whose entanglements of the global and the local are so profound that one cannot exist apart from the other. These chapters provocatively analyze emerging twenty-first-century horizons of human rights—on one hand, the simultaneous promise and peril of global rights activism through social media, and on the other, the force of intergenerational rights linked to environmental concerns that are both local and global. Taken together, they demonstrate how local struggles and realities transform classic human rights concepts, including “victim,” “truth,” and “justice.”
            Edited by Steve J. Stern and Scott Straus, The Human Rights Paradox enables us to consider the consequences—for history, social analysis, politics, and advocacy—of understanding that human rights belong both to “humanity” as abstraction as well as to specific people rooted in particular locales.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A deeply penetrating critique of dominant trends in the human rights literature. This volume poses a persuasive challenge to those scholars who overlook the uneven and nonlinear development of human rights.”—Victor Peskin, author of International Justice in Rwanda and the Balkans

“The contributors illustrate well the complexity of analyzing specific situations and defining strategies for action, as well as the relevance of context, history, and politics.”—Susana Kaiser, University of San Francisco

“Refreshingly, the editors do not pretend to rewrite the field. As Stern and Straus explain in the introduction, the purpose is to open the door to more fruitful scholarship and innovative thinking about human rights. In this, the book succeeds overwhelmingly.”—H-Net

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780299299736
Publisher:
University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
04/29/2014
Series:
Critical Human Rights
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
File size:
527 KB

Meet the Author

Steve J. Stern is the Alberto Flores Galindo and Hilldale Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received the Bolton-Johnson Prize from the Conference in Latin American History in 2007 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. Scott Straus is a professor of political science and international studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of The Order of Genocide and a coeditor of Remaking Rwanda.

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