Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary Global Affairs: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary Global Affairs

1st Edition

Edited by Mahmood Monshipouri


400 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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This book elucidates why human rights still matter in contemporary global affairs, and what can lead to better protection of international human rights in a post-liberal order.

It blends theoretical, empirical, and normative perspectives, while providing much-needed analysis in light of the perils of populism, authoritarianism, and toxic nationalism as well as the hopes with which people around the world view human rights in the new millennium. Systematically combining theoretical perspectives from across the disciplines with numerous case studies, it demonstrates not only the complexities of the domestic conditions involved, but also the ways in which human dignity can be preserved and promoted during periods of rapid change and uncertainty. Finally, the book addresses the question of how to protect human rights in such a world in which the active promotion of democratic values and enforcement of human rights may not be necessarily aligned with evolving economic and geopolitical interests of many great and diverse powers on the global scene. As such, it is a timely intervention for human rights as a concept as it has been attacked and eroded by the instability in our world today.

This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of human rights in politics, law, philosophy, sociology, and history and to humanitarian bodies, practitioners and policy makers.


"An outstanding collection of expert essays on many enduring philosophical issues and contemporary human rights debates. Every chapter provides avenues for further reading, suggestions for future research and ideas for improving human rights protection." - David Cingranelli, Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute, Binghamton University, SUNY, USA.

"Are human rights outdated in our post-liberal world? This book brings together a diverse and distinguished set of scholars who argue for the continuing relevance of human rights in the struggle for social justice across the globe." - Jack Donnelly, Andrew Mellon Professor, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, USA.

"This timely, well-researched, and provocative book should be compulsory reading for everyone who cares about the future of human rights in a time of xenophobic nationalism, authoritarianism, and climate change denial." - Eric Stover, Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

"Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary Global Affairs inspires much-needed optimism about the future of human rights, despite challenges from many directions. The book’s diverse authors provide constructive proposals for how human rights advocates can effectively attack today’s most salient global human rights concerns, such as economic inequality, and environmental justice in a world confronted by climate change." - Lisa Sundstrom, Co-Director of the International Relations Program, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary World Affairs

Mahmood Monshipouri

Part I: Framing the Human Rights Discourse

2. How Do Human Rights Matter?

Michael Goodhart

3. Broadening Human Rights: The Case for a Pluralistic Approach

Hussein Banai and Anthony Tirado Chase

4. Non-Western Experiences of the (Un)persuasive Practice of Human Rights

Shadi Mokhtari

5. Assessing Regional Human Rights Systems: from Convergence to Divergence

Daniel J. Whelan and Andrew McWard

Part II: Human Rights Practice: Legal and Moral Responsibility

6. State Responsibility and International Law

Mark Gibney

7. Human Rights and Humanitarian Action Will Endure: The Case of International Committee of the Red Cross

David P. Forsythe

8. Denial and Debilitation: Environmental Rights and the Harm of Climate Change Denial

Richard P. Hiskes

9. Transitional Justice: From Accountability to Peace

Mahmood Monshipouri and William V. Dunlap

Part III: Protecting Economic Rights in a Globalizing World

10. Labor Rights as Human Rights: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Implications

Carol C. Gould

11. The Trajectory of the Right to Food in Brazil: The Debate Between Means and Access

Anthony Pahnke

12. Social Movements, Development Policy, and Human Rights

Shareen Hertel and Rajeshwari Majumdar

13. Migrant Workers and Human Rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Zahra Babar

14. Human Rights and Inequality

Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann

Part IV: Human Rights Challenges in a Fractured, Violent, and Intolerant World

15. Threats to Freedom of the Press

Andrei Richter

16. Addressing Religious Intolerance in an Increasingly Illiberal World

Barbara Ann Rieffer-Flanagan

17. Neoliberalism and Women’s Rights

Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat

18. Climate Refugees, Forced Migrants, and the Syrian Crisis

Mahmood Monshipouri

Part V: The Way Forward

19. The Resilience of Rights in a Post-Liberal World

Alison Brysk

About the Editor

Mahmood Monshipouri is Professor of International Relations at San Francisco State University and a Lecturer of Middle Eastern Politics at the Global Studies/International and Area Studies, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Human Rights

The Routledge Human Rights series publishes high quality and cross-disciplinary scholarship on topics of key importance in human rights today. In a world where human rights are both celebrated and contested, this series is committed to create stronger links between disciplines and explore new methodological and theoretical approaches in human rights research. Aimed towards both scholars and human rights professionals, the series strives to provide both critical analysis and policy-oriented research in an accessible form. The series welcomes work on specific human rights issues as well as on cross-cutting themes and institutional perspectives.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

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