Sociology of Human Rights

Course outline

The main line of the course is a deep understanding of the human rights development in a social science context. It stresses the importance of the cultural, social environment of the enforcement of the human rights. This approach uses broad social science perspective, interdisciplinary viewpoints; it suggests historical, sociological concepts and theories as researches from criminology, cultural anthropology and political science. The real importance of the Human Rights can only be grasped by the analysis of the social effectiveness, which supposes the transgression of the normative, institutional and pure historical depiction. For this reason both the lessons and the readings deal with the cultural, social contexts of the Human Rights. The course outlines the relevant consequences of the Human Rights for the development of the social integration and the bonds between individual and community.


The main objective of the course is to heighten the openness of the students to problems of Human Rights, and to developing rights consciousness. By the end of the course students will be able to evaluate the importance of the rights, and to realise the broader context and consequences of the Human Rights and the seriousness and social harm of the breaching Human Rights. By showing of the extra-legal aspects and social scientific perspectives the course will open the mind of the students for practical usage of the human rights argumentation. With the help of interdisciplinary aspects the sensitivity of the students for human rights practices. The students will be able to analyse individually and collectively different Human Rights issues.


  • Simon Halliday and Patrick Schmidt (eds.): Human Rights Brought Home: Socio-Legal Perspectives on Human Rights in the National Context, Hart Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 9781841133881
  • Mark Goodale and Sally Engle Merry (eds.): The Practice of Human Rights. Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local, Cambridge University Press, 2007, ISBN: 9780521683784
  • Reza Banakar (Ed.) Rights in Context. Law and Justice in Late Modern Society, Asgate, 2010, ISBN: 978-1-4094-0740-9


  • Benjamin Gregg: Human Rights as Social Construction, Cambridge University Press, 2012, ISBN: 9781107015937
  • Catherine Dupré: Importing the Law in Post-Communist Transitions. The Hungarian Constitutional Court and the Right to Human Dignity, Hart Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 9781841131313
  • Ali A. Abdi and Lynette Shultz (eds.): Educating for Human Rights and Global Citizenship, State University of New York Press, 2008, ISBN: 9780791473740
  • Upendra Baxi: The Future of Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2008 (2nd), ISBN: 9780195690439


Zoltán Fleck