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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Rights: Sociological Perspectives

ISBN13: 9780415355223
ISBN: 0415355222
Published: March 2006
Publisher: Routledge
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £35.99

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This pioneering book demonstrates how different traditions of sociological thought can contribute to an understanding of the theory and practice of rights. It provides a sociological treatment of a wide range of substantive issues but never loses sight of the key theoretical questions.


  • considers some varied cases of public intervention, including welfare, caring, mental health provisions, pensions, justice and free speech alongside the rights issues they raise
  • examines the question of rights from the point of view of distinctive population groups, such as prisoners and victims, women, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and lesbians and gays.
A key strength is its detailed presentation and analysis of different aspects of rights and its exploration of a variety of analytical perspectives. Rights are viewed, not in terms of ethical certainty, but as the product of social processes and part of shifting terrain which is open to negotiation.

Including a theoretical critique of existing perspectives, Rights offers a diverse and detailed exploration of the contribution sociological thought can make to this increasingly important aspect of social life and is an invaluable aid to students studying in this area.

Introduction: Sociology and Rights - An Emergent Field

Part 1: Political Economy and Rights
1. Do We Need Rights: If So of What Sort?
2. Return of the Proletariat?: Pension Rights and Pension Finance in an Ageing Society
3. Developing an Economic Sociology of Care and Rights;

Part 2: Status, Norms and Institutions
4. Social Rights, Trans-National Rights and Civic Stratification
5. ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights’: Campaigns and Concepts
6. Human Rights, Anti-Racism and EU Advocacy Coalitions

Part 3: Meaning, Interpretation and Rights
7. Rights, Social Theory and Political Philosophy: A Framework for Case Study Research
8. Rights Work: Constructing Lesbian, Gay and Sexual Rights in Late Modern Times
9. The Sociology of Indigenous People’s Rights

Part 4: The Clash of Rights
10. Punishment, Rights and Justice
11. Mental Disorder and Human Rights
12. Free to Speak, Free to Hate? Conclusion: A Foundation for Rights or Theories of Practice?