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date: 15 April 2024

p. 493. The Politics of Human Rightslocked

p. 493. The Politics of Human Rightslocked

  • Michael Goodhart


This chapter explores the politics of human rights. As human rights function as an ethical standard in international law and political practice, the standard enabled the naming and shaming strategy that became the mainstay of international human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The chapter covers why human rights as politics generate controversy by referencing the understandings of social constructs, paradox of institutionalization, and cultural relativism. Indeed, human rights are inherently political and controversial. The chapter then discusses the accommodation of inequality through neoliberal conceptions of human rights. It explains the two important contemporary debates about human rights: its effectiveness in combatting economic inequality and precarity, and the evidence of a global backlash against human rights.

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