State Violence and Human Rights: State Officials in the South, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

State Violence and Human Rights

State Officials in the South, 1st Edition

Edited by Steffen Jensen, Andrew Jefferson


214 pages

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State Violence and Human Rights addresses how legal practices – rooted in global human rights discourse or local demands – take hold in societies where issues of state violence remain to be resolved. Attempts to make societies accountable to human rights norms regularly draw on international legal conventions governing state conduct. As such, interventions tend to be based on inherently normative assumptions about conflict, justice, rights and law, and so often fail to take into consideration the reality of local circumstances, and in particular of state institutions and their structures of authority. Against the grain of these analyses, State Violence and Human Rights takes as its point of departure the fact that law and authority are contested. Grounded in the recognition that concepts of rights and legal practices are not fixed, the contributors to this volume address their contestation 'in situ'; as they focus on the everyday practices of state officials, non-state authorities and reformers. Addressing how state representatives – the police officer, the prison officer, the ex-combatant militia member, the hangman and the traditional leader – have to negotiate the tensions between international legal imperatives, the expectations of donors, the demands of institutions, as well as their own interests, this volume thus explores how legal discourses are translated from policy into everyday practice.

Table of Contents

Introduction Andrew M. Jefferson and Steffen Jensen 1. The Politics of Palestinian Legal Reform: Judicial Independence and Accountability Under Occupation Tobias Kelly 2. Traditional Authority and Localization of State Law: The Intricacies of Boundary Making in Policing Rural Mozambique Helene Maria Kyed 3. The Vision of the State: Audiences, Enchantments and Policing in South Africa Steffen Jensen 4. Translating Human Rights in the Margins: A Police-Migrant Encounter in Johannesburg Julia Hornberger 5. The Special Field Force and Namibian Ex-Combatant 'Reintegration' Lalli Metsola 6. On Hangings and the Dubious Embodiment of Statehood in Nigerian Prisons Andrew M. Jefferson 7. Taking the Snake out of the Basket – Indian Prison Warders' Opposition to Human Rights Reform Tomas Martin 8. Community Policing Programmes as Police Human Rights Strategies in Costa Rica Quirine Eijkman 9. Commentary: The Piggy-in-the-Middle Mike Brogden

About the Series

Law, Development and Globalization

During the past two decades, a substantial transformation of law and legal institutions in developing and transition countries has taken place. Whether prompted by the policy prescriptions of the so-called Washington consensus, the wave of  democratization, the international human rights movement or the emergence of new social movements, no area of law has been left untouched. This massive transformation is attracting the attention of legal scholars, as well as scholars from other disciplines, such as politics, economics, sociology, anthropology and history. This diversity is valuable because it promotes cross-disciplinary dialogue and cooperation. It is also important because today the study of law cannot ignore the process of globalization, which is multifaceted and thus calls for inter-disciplinary skills and perspectives. Indeed, as globalization deepens, legal institutions at the national level are influenced and shaped by rules, practices and ideas drawn, imposed or borrowed from abroad.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Human Rights