Why do powerful states like the U.S., U.K., China, and Russiarepeatedly fail to meet their international legal obligations asdefined by human rights instruments? How does global capitalismaffect states’ ability to implement human rights,particularly in the context of global recession, state austerity,perpetual war, and environmental crisis? How are political andcivil rights undermined as part of moves to impose security andsurveillance regimes?
This book presents a framework for understanding human rights asa terrain of struggle over power between states, private interests,and organized, “bottom-up” social movements. Theauthors develop a critical sociology of human rights focusing onthe concept of the <em>human rights enterprise</em>:the process through which rights are defined and realized. Whilestates are designated arbiters of human rights according to humanrights instruments, they do not exist in a vacuum. Politicalsociology helps us to understand how global neoliberalism andpowerful non-governmental actors (particularly economic actors suchas corporations and financial institutions) deeply affectstates’ ability and likelihood to enforce human rightsstandards.
This book offers keen insights for understanding rights claims,and the institutionalization of, access to, and restrictions onhuman rights. It will be invaluable to human rights advocates, andundergraduate and graduate students across the social sciences.