The Power of Human Rights/The Human Rights of Power  book cover
1st Edition

The Power of Human Rights/The Human Rights of Power

ISBN 9780367139544
Published January 11, 2019 by Routledge
256 Pages

SAVE ~ $10.59
was $52.95
USD $42.36

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: The power of human rights/the human rights of power: an introduction, Louiza Odysseos and Anna Selmeczi
  2. The question concerning human rights and human rightlessness: disposability and struggle in the Bhopal gas disaster, Louiza Odysseos
  3. Struggles, over rights: humanism, ethical dispossession and resistance, Lara Montesinos Coleman
  4. Who is the subject of neoliberal rights? Governmentality, subjectification and the letter of the law,
  5. Anna Selmeczi
  6. The human right to housing and community empowerment: home occupation, eviction defence and community land trusts, Joe Hoover
  7. Producing the subjects of reconciliation: the making of Sierra Leoneans as victims and perpetrators of past human rights violations, Judith Renner
  8. Disciplining the human rights of immigrants: market veridiction and the echoes of eugenics in contemporary EU immigration policies, Jarmila Rajas
  9. Border politics, right to life and acts of dissensus: voices from the Lampedusa Borderland, Raffaela Puggioni
  10. The Endriago subject and the dislocation of state attribution in human rights discourse: the case of Mexican asylum claims in Canada, Ariadna Estévez
  11. Between learning and schooling: the politics of human rights monitoring at the Universal Periodic Review, Jane K. Cowan and Julie Billaud
  12. Power, privilege and rights: how the powerful and powerless create a vernacular of rights, Daniel Tagliarina
  13. Human rights and power amid protest and change in the Arab world, Shadi Mokhtari
  14. The power effects of human rights reforms in Turkey: enhanced surveillance and depoliticisation, Serif Onur Bahçecik
  15. Promoting health or securing the market? The right to health and intellectual property between radical contestation and accommodation, Eva Hilberg
  16. Appropriation and the dualism of human rights: understanding the contradictory impact of gender norms in Nigeria, Mathias Großklaus

View More



Louiza Odysseos is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Sussex and Deputy Director of the Sussex Rights and Justice Research Centre. She is the author of The Subject of Coexistence: Otherness in International Relations (2007) and numerous articles on ethics, rights and resistance. She has also co-edited Gendering the International (2002), The International Political Theory of Carl Schmitt (2007) and Heidegger and the Global Age (2017). She is currently researching a monograph entitled The Reign of Rights in Global Politics.

Anna Selmeczi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Her current research focuses on knowledge dynamics in urban social movements, particularly the pedagogical aspects of grassroots political practices.