Dialogues on Human Rights and Legal Pluralism

Posted on Actualizado enn

Rene Provost
McGill University – Faculty of Law

Colleen Sheppard
Faculty of Law, McGill University

August 16, 2012

René Provost & Colleen Sheppard eds, Dialogues on Human Rights and Legal Pluralism (Springer, 2012)


At first glance, human rights and legal pluralism make strange bedfellows. To begin with, they are not conceptual analogues: the first is normative in its essence, capturing a bundle of rights reflecting the interests most fundamental to any human being; the second is conceptual, offering a model of how to construct legal normativity in a society. There are, beyond this distinct nature, further layers of difference which separate rather than unite notions of human rights and legal pluralism, explaining the fact that studies on human rights rarely have embraced a legal pluralism approach and, conversely, that legal pluralistic analysis by and large focuses on norms other than human rights.

This book interrogates the chasm that seems to exist between these two notions, to highlight the potential for legal pluralism to bring innovative perspectives to our understanding of human rights, which have become a critical component of modern legal systems. Human rights have experienced momentous growth during the post-World War II era. At the international, state, and local levels, human rights laws, declarations, charters, and covenants have multiplied and endorsed a recurring core of rights and obligations linked to the protection of fundamental human dignity, equality and justice.

Nevertheless, there has been a growing concern that simply ratifying or legislating human rights conventions and laws does not lead to the effective enjoyment of human rights in the daily lives of millions of individuals. Legal pluralism offers an approach that translates abstract and broad human rights standards into the vernacular of everyday life, transplanting these norms into ordinary human relations where they can truly achieve their transformative potential.
Keywords: Human Rights, Legal Pluralism, Universality, Globalism, Communities

Source: Social Science Research Network



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