Sociology of Human Rights

Course Provider: Prof Leigh Payne


This course introduces students to advanced research on sociology in Human Rights, and prepares students for doctoral research in this area.

The eight weekly sessions will be divided into two parts.

Part I: Theory and Practice: (1) Sociological theory and human rights (2) Sociological method for analysing human rights (3) Explaining human rights law-making (4) Explaining human rights claims making and outcomes

Part II: Empirical Analysis of Human Rights: (5) Civil and Political Rights (state violations, violations in armed conflicts); (6) Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (poverty & human rights; business & human rights; indigenous peoples & human rights; immigration & human rights; forced labour) (7) Gender & LGBT rights (hate crimes; female cutting; sexual and reproductive violence; rape as a war crime); (8) Environment & human rights

On successfully completing the lectures and tutorials, students should be:
• familiar with scholarship on sociology and sociological questions in Human Rights;
• able to prepare an analytical paper in the Sociology of Human Rights; and
• prepared for advanced research in these areas.

Two-hour seminar each of the eight weeks of Hilary Term; Tutorial sessions for each student to present their draft analytical paper and receive feedback in Trinity Term; Students will be assigned to provide feedback on the tutorial papers.

Unmarked: weekly preparation of discussion paper; draft of analytical paper for oral presentation; feedback on another student’s analytical paper. Marked: final analytical paper due in Trinity Term.

• M Frezzo, The Sociology of Human Rights
• D Levy, Sovereignty Transformed: The Sociology of Human Rights
• G Sjoberg et al “A Sociology of Human Rights” in Social Problems
• M Delflen & S Chicoine, “The Sociological Discourse on Human Rights: Lessons from the Sociology of Law” in Development and Society
• T Vaugn & G Sjoberg, “Human Rights Theory and the Classical Sociological Tradition” in Sociological Theory in Transformation
• TR Young, The Sociology of Human Rights, Humanity, and Society
• Woodiweiss, “Taking the Sociology of Human Rights Seriously” in Interpreting Human Rights
• B Turner, “Outline of a Theory of Human Rights Sociology” in Sociology
• B Turner, “Sociology of Human Rights” in Oxford Handbook of International Human Rights Law
• M Somers & C Roberts, “Toward a New Sociology of Rights,” in Annual Review of Law and Social Sciences
• M Buraway, “Introduction: A Public Sociology for Human Rights,” in Public Sociology Reader
• RW Connel “Sociology and Human Rights” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology
• J Hagan & R Levi, “Justiciability as Field Effect: When Sociology Meets Human Rights” in Sociological Forum
• L Morris “Sociology and Rights: An Emergent Field” in Rights
• R Fine, Towards a Sociology of Human Rights
• P Hynes et al, “Sociology and Human Rights” in International Journal of Human Rights
• K Nash, The Political Sociology of Human Rights