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Sociology, human rights, and the World Social Forum

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Chapter Summary

Though confined to the domains of development sociology, political economy, and historical sociology, the dependency/world-systems critique of developmentalism eventually converged with Marxist, feminist, post-structuralist, and post-colonial critiques of such Enlightenment values as "freedom," "equality," and "democracy." The chapter argues that the movement-NGO-UN nexus constitutes an important topic for the sociology of human rights. Building on the sociology of law and public sociology currents, the author proposes a post-development perspective on the study of human rights. Decoupled from the legacy of developmentalism, the doctrine of human rights - conceptualized as a norm to be claimed, contested, and modified by a variety of actors - provides the grammar for disputes on the organizational structure, ideological orientation, and political objectives of the World Social Forum (WSF).

Keywords: human rights; post-development approach; public sociology; World Social Forum (WSF)



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