The contributions to this volume eschew the long-held approach of either dismissing human rights as politically compromised or glorifying them as a priori progressive in enabling resistance. Drawing on plural social theoretic and philosophical literatures – and a multiplicity of empirical domains – they illuminate the multi-layered and intricate relationship of human rights and power. They highlight human rights’ incitement of new subjects and modes of political action, marked by an often unnoticed duality and indeterminacy. Epistemologically distancing themselves from purely deductive, theory-driven approaches, the contributors explore these linkages through historically specific rights struggles. This, in turn, substantiates the commitment to avoid reifying the ‘Third World’ as merely the terrain of ‘fieldwork’, proposing it, instead, as a legitimate and necessary site of theorising. This book was originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.
THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.
THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.