This volume offers snapshots of how rights are debated and employed in public discourse to reshape legal and political relations at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It explores how rights are used to challenge the state of affairs by individuals and groups who seek justice, and the strategies devised to defy the existing rights by those who wish to recast the social and political order. This volume discusses rights, firstly, in relation to actual events and issues faced by policy-makers, courts, international agencies, or ordinary people. These range from the demands of minority groups living in the West to freely practice their culture and/or religion, to the threat of terrorism, the regulation of asylum rights, the investor's rights to disclosure and the rights of artists to freedom of expression. Secondly, rights discourse is examined in relation to attempts to redefine the form and content of rights, for example, by banning the right to wear religious symbols in public institutions or detaining terrorism suspects without trial. Thirdly, rights discourse is explored in connection with the attempts to develop new notions of rights, such as 'human security', which can more effectively respond to the challenges of late modern societies. Finally, the statuses of rights in sociological theory and socio-legal research are briefly discussed and analysed.
'This integrated and thoughtful collection illustrates the increasing significance of rights discourse in contemporary political, policy, and legal debates ranging from artistic expression, multiculturalism, financialization, human security, and the "war on terror". The contributors adopt a nuanced and rich relational and sociological approach to rights that seeks to reconnect law to social justice in a globalized and post-industrial world.' Judy Fudge, University of Victoria, Canada 'This stimulating book brings a range of socio-legal perspectives to bear on how talk about rights is framed, used and exploited at local, national, and transnational levels. It challenges many complacent assumptions about the relationship between law, justice and politics in the conditions of late modernity.' William Twining, University College London, UK '… provides an excellent interdisciplinary and philosophical enquiry into human rights in social context… Banaker's volume offers an insightful critical perspective on rights discourse.' Times Higher Education 'This book is an interesting and lively read […] arising from an academic workshop on human rights. It reflects an interesting side of the European debate, focusing on countries that we would normally regard as liberal and not associated with a colonial/imperial past.' Law Gazette 'The book imparts a sense of knowledge of the concept of rights in a ’subjective’ fashion. This includes how rights are used, abused, created, destroyed and re-invented by various actors and groups in the globalised western world to achieve specific results. The moral face of rights is not a part of the focus of this text. Though most articles are lengthy and intensive, the issues addressed deserve the focus given to them. The text would appeal to anyone who has an avid interest in socio-legal matters. Rights in Context succeeds in being both comprehensive and informative.' Commonwealth Law Bulletin