1st Edition

The Pluriverse of Human Rights: The Diversity of Struggles for Dignity The Diversity of Struggles for Dignity

Edited By Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Bruno Martins Copyright 2021
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    The impasse currently affecting human rights as a language used to express struggles for dignity is, to a large extent, a reflection of the epistemological and political exhaustion which blights the global North. Since the global hegemony of human rights as a language for human dignity is nowadays incontrovertible, the question of whether it can be used in a counter-hegemonic sense remains open. Inspired by struggles from all corners of the world that reveal the potential but, above all, the limitations of human rights, this book offers a highly conditional response. The prevailing notion of human rights today, as the hegemonic language of human dignity, can only be resignified on the basis of answers to simple questions: why does so much unjust human suffering exist that is not considered a violation of human rights? Do other languages of human dignity exist in the world? Are these other languages compatible with the language of human rights? Obviously, we can only find satisfactory answers to these questions if we are able to envisage a radical transformation of what is nowadays known as human rights. Herein lies the challenge posed by the Epistemologies of the South: reconciling human rights with the different languages and forms of knowledge born out of struggles for human dignity.



    Part 1. Human frontiers

    1. Human Rights, democracy and development

    Boaventura de Sousa Santos

    2. A Being that was not made to suffer: on the difference of the human and the differences between humans

    João Arriscado Nunes

    3. On the coloniality of human rights

    Nelson Maldonado Torres

    Part 2. Struggles and emergences

    4. Revisiting the Bhopal disaster: times of violence and latitudes of memory

    Bruno Sena Martins

    5. Pluralism and the post-minority condition: reflections on the ‘Pasmanda Muslim’ discourse in North India

    Khalid Anis Ansari

    6. Picturing Law, Reform and Sexual Violence: Notes on the Delhi Protests of 2012-2013
    Pratiksha Baxi

    7. Women and Mass Violence in Mozambique during the Late Colonial Period

    Maria Paula Meneses

    8. Women's Human Rights, Legal Mobilization and Epistemologies of the South

    Cecília MacDowell Santos

    9. The power of racism in academia: knowledge production and political disputes

    Marta Araújo and Silvia R. Maeso

    10. The Roma collective memory and the epistemological limits of Western historiography

    Cayetano Fernández

    11. Rights, confinement, and liberation: rearguard theory and freedom of movement

    Julia Suárez-Krabbe

    12. The Mediterranean as the EU human rights boundary

    Angeles Castaño Madroñal


    Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Bruno Sena Martins


    Boaventura de Sousa Santos is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal), and Distinguished Legal Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). He has written extensively on globalization, sociology of law and the state, epistemology and social movements. His most recent publication The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South (2018).

    Bruno Sena Martins is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra. Co-coordinator of the Doctoral Program Human Rights in Contemporary Societies. He was Vice-President of CES/UC Scientific Board and Co-coordinator of the research group Democracy, Citizenship and Law Research Group (DECIDe). In 2007, he was Research Fellow at the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS), School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds. His research interests include body, disability, human rights and colonialism.