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Globalization and Human Rights

EDITED BY Alison Brysk
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Pages: 321
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  • Book Info
    Globalization and Human Rights
    Book Description:

    In this landmark volume, Alison Brysk has assembled an impressive array of scholars to address new questions about globalization and human rights. Is globalization generating both problems and opportunities? Are new problems replacing or intensifying state repression? How effective are new forms of human rights accountability? These essays include theoretical analyses by Richard Falk, Jack Donnelly, and James Rosenau. Chapters on sex tourism, international markets, and communications technology bring new perspectives to emerging issues. The authors investigate places such as the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and the Philippines. The contemporary world is defined by globalization. While global human rights standards and institutions have been established, assaults on human dignity continue. These essays identify the new challenges to be faced, and suggest new ways to remedy the costs of globalization.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93628-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction: Transnational Threats and Opportunities
    (pp. 1-16)
    Alison Brysk

    Globalization—the growing interpenetration of states, markets, communications, and ideas across borders—is one of the leading characteristics of the contemporary world. International norms and institutions for the protection of human rights are more developed than at any previous point in history, while global civil society fosters growing avenues of appeal for citizens repressed by their own states. But assaults on fundamental human dignity continue, and the very blurring of borders and rise of transnational actors that facilitated the development of a global human rights regime may also be generatingnewsources of human rights abuse. Even as they are...


    • 1 Who Has a Right to Rights? Citizenship’s Exclusions in an Age of Migration
      (pp. 19-43)
      Kristen Hill Maher

      Transnational migration—or the flow of “bodies across borders”—presents a range of potential threats to human rights. The most politicized and visible among these threats are those posed to migrants by exploitative trafficking networks that profit from migrants’ vulnerabilities, coercing them into circumstances that include life-threatening dangers, slave-labor conditions, or forced prostitution. These circumstances violate migrants’ most fundamental rights and certainly deserve international attention. However, globalizing processes have also produced less visible but more numerous rights vulnerabilities among migrants who live as noncitizen residents in foreign states. Noncitizen populations pose a quandary for the administration of human rights because...

    • 2 Tourism, Sex Work, and Women’s Rights in the Dominican Republic
      (pp. 44-58)
      Amalia Lucia Cabezas

      Making women, rather than men, the focal point of inquiry profoundly alters the concepts of human rights and globalization. In truth, the spectacle of young women wearing tight miniskirts and stiletto heels rarely comes to mind when thinking of human rights violations and the impact of globalization. But it is one of the effects of globalization in the Caribbean region. Consider, for example, the following account: a young woman leaving a disco at a tourist resort in the Dominican Republic is arrested by the police, who are rounding up all Dominican women as they leave the premises. Nightly police sweeps...


    • 3 Interpreting the Interaction of Global Markets and Human Rights
      (pp. 61-76)
      Richard Falk

      “The battle of Seattle” posed the firstpoliticalcrisis of globalization, just as the Asian financial crisis of mid 1997 posed the firsteconomiccrisis. Those protesters on the streets were potent in their impact because their grievances were aligned and resonant with a high level of discontent among the intergovernmental officialdom gathered in Seattle for the meetings of the World Trade Organization. At its core, the encounter was between an economistic view of the future, premised upon technological innovation, economic growth, and profits, and a normative view, or more accurately, a clash of normative views of the future, based...

    • 4 Economic Globalization and Rights: An Empirical Analysis
      (pp. 77-97)
      Wesley T. Milner

      As we enter the twenty-first century, many scholars, media commentators, and citizens alike are attempting to grapple with the ever-increasing rate at which our world is becoming more integrated. Numerous components of “civilization” (e.g., capital, labor, goods, services, information, disease) that were once relatively fixed from a geographical standpoint are now hurled around the planet at previously unthinkable speeds. This notion of “globalization” has been seen as the solution to some contemporary problems, including underdevelopment, malnutrition, and perhaps human rights violations.

      However, some have argued that this latest “wave” of globalization is no different from previous periods of increased trade...

    • 5 Sweatshops and International Labor Standards: Globalizing Markets, Localizing Norms
      (pp. 98-112)
      Raul C. Pangalangan

      Labor and human rights advocates have attempted to improve the condition of workers in developing countries by advocating international minimum labor standards enforced by trade sanctions. They propose to link labor standards with world trade through social clauses that seal off First World markets to products made in Third World sweatshops, thus preventing social dumping and the “race to the bottom” in wages and benefits. Poor countries, on the other hand, see this as disguised protectionism by the global North that neutralizes their competitive edge in low wages. They argue that wages and standards of living will improve only as...


    • 6 The Ironies of Information Technology
      (pp. 115-132)
      Shayne Weyker

      There is a small but extremely interesting literature on the role of new information technologies in advancing such values as human rights, democratization, and economic justice, but it has been somewhat lacking in the generalization of particular examples to larger trends.¹ This essay attempts to fill that gap, explaining why and how advances in information technology empower the human rights movement and the various ways in which the promise of technology may be neutralized or turned against human rights workers. The opportunities and pitfalls of technology are discussed below in terms of their effects on human rights organizations as self-organizing...

    • 7 Globalization and the Social Construction of Human Rights Campaigns
      (pp. 133-147)
      Clifford Bob

      In September and October 1999, international concern about human rights violations in East Timor mounted precipitously.¹ The global media reported daily on alleged atrocities; transnational human rights NGOs issued appeals for urgent action; foreign governments pressured Indonesia to control its paramilitaries; and a UN peacekeeping force eventually entered the territory. However briefly, East Timor took center stage on the international human rights agenda. But at the same time, from Aceh and West Papua in Indonesia to China’s Xinjiang province and Senegal’s Casamançe, dozens of other conflicts involving similar abuses festered with little international attention or action—just as East Timor...

    • 8 The Drama of Human Rights in a Turbulent, Globalized World
      (pp. 148-168)
      James N. Rosenau

      To facilitate an assessment of the human rights regime at the outset of the twenty-first century, this essay outlines the relevance of turbulence, of globalization, and of the drama of the most obstreperous actor as theoretical aids to understanding how human rights may—or may not—be contributing to global governance, global communication, and the global citizenship gap. Three questions drive the analysis. In what ways are turbulent conditions inhibiting and enhancing the various struggles for human rights? In what ways are the processes of globalization accelerating and undermining the struggles? In what ways do the most obstreperous actors in...


    • 9 Transnational Civil Society Campaigns and the World Bank Inspection Panel
      (pp. 171-200)
      Jonathan Fox

      For more than two decades, the World Bank has been a lightning rod for transnational civil society action. International environmental, human rights and indigenous rights networks have repeatedly challenged the World Bank’s sustained support for repressive regimes, as well as its high profile promotion of socially and environmentally costly development strategies. These transnational campaigns can be understood as efforts to hold one of the most powerful multilateral organizations publicly accountable for investments made in the name of “socially and environmentally sustainable development.” The diversity of civil society Bank campaigns across countries and issues, as well as their long-term, sustained track...

    • 10 Humanitarian Intervention: Global Enforcement of Human Rights?
      (pp. 201-225)
      Wayne Sandholtz

      When globalization refers to the economy, people can easily anchor the conversation in well-known referents: trade, transnational investment, international currency markets. But when globalization talk turns to political values and norms, the moorings vanish and the discussion bobs around uncertainly. For whereas money offers a sort of lingua franca (at least you can count it), the sharing of norms and values across widely differing cultures seems less reducible to a common currency. Yet international society affirms basic human rights in a set of conventions and declarations that constitute what some refer to as an “International Bill of Human Rights” (Donnelly...

    • 11 Human Rights, Globalizing Flows, and State Power
      (pp. 226-241)
      Jack Donnelly

      In this essay, I reflect on the effect of globalization on human rights through the exercise or replacement of state power: globalization through the middle. As Alison Brysk’s introduction suggests, the role and type of state are critical mediating variables in this relationship. In my discussion, the themes and patterns of this relationship follow the organization of the volume through five globalizing flows—commodities, people, information, norms, and political sanctions. My own analysis shows that the impact of globalizing flows depends on relations of power, which are still largely shaped by states.

      Brysk offers a “consensus” definition of globalization: the...

    • Conclusion: From Rights to Realities
      (pp. 242-256)
      Alison Brysk

      This volume has applied a variety of analytical and academic tools to map the impact of globalization on human rights conditions. How can these multiple perspectives make globalization more responsive to human rights concerns? This essay will review the general findings of the volume, situate this analysis in terms of international relations theory, and suggest some initial policy prescriptions.

      What are the leading patterns of threats to human rights today? Our findings suggest that the key determinants are the type of globalization, the level of analysis, and the type of state. In these essays, the new threats can be grouped...

    (pp. 257-300)
    (pp. 301-302)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 303-311)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 312-312)