Are human rights part of the problem or part of the solution in the current 'clash of civilizations'? Drawing on a hitherto neglected body of work in classical social theory and combining it with ideas derived from Barrington Moore, Norbert Elias and Michel Foucault, Woodiwiss poses and answers the questions:
In answering these questions, he explains how and why rights discourse developed in such distinctive ways in four key locations: Britain, the United States, Japan and in the UN. On this basis he provides, for the first time, a general sociological account of the development of international human rights discourse, which represents a striking challenge to current thinking and policy.
Part 1: Making Rights 1. The Paradox of Human Rights 2. Towards a Sociology of Rights 3. From Rights to Liberty in England and the United States 4. The Comparative Sociology of Rights Regimes 5. From Liberty to the Rule of (Property) Law in the United States 6. Japan, the Rule of Law and the Absence of Liberty Part 2: Righting The World? 7. The United States and the Invention of Human Rights 8. The Warren Court: Setting the International Agenda 9. The United Nations and the Internationalization of American Rights Discourse 10. Making an Example of Japan 11. The Desire for Equality and the Emergence of a Sociology for Human Rights. Conclusion: For a New Universalism