Human Rights
Human Rights, 4th Edition

<i>Human Rights</i>, now in its fourth edition, is an introductory text that is both innovative and challenging. Its unique interdisciplinary approach invites students to think imaginatively and rigorously about one of the most important and influential political concepts of our time.

Tracing the history of the concept, the book shows that there are fundamental tensions between legal, philosophical and social-scientific approaches to human rights. This analysis throws light on some of the most controversial issues in the field: What are the causes of human rights-violations? Is the idea of universal human rights consistent with respect for cultural difference? Are we living in a ‘post human rights’ world?

Thoroughly revised and updated, the new edition engages with recent developments, including the Trump and Biden presidencies, colonial legacies, neoliberalism, conflict in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar, the Covid-19 pandemic, new technologies, and the supposed crisis of liberal democracy. Widely admired and assigned for its clarity and comprehensiveness, this book remains a ‘go-to’ text for students in the social sciences, as well as students of human-rights law who want an introduction to the non-legal aspects of their subject.

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  • April 2022
  • 272 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509546039
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509546046
Table of Contents
Preface to the Fourth Edition

1 Introduction: Thinking about Human Rights

2 Origins: The Rise and Fall of Natural Rights

3 After 1945: The New Age of Rights

4 Theories of Human Rights

5 Human Rights and Social Science

6 The Politics of Human Rights

7 Globalization, Development and Poverty: Economics and Human Rights

8 Universality, Diversity and Difference: Culture and Human Rights

9 Conclusion: Utopians, Endtimers, Slow Borers

About the Author
Michael Freeman is Emeritus Professor of Government at the University of Essex.
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“Freeman’s discussion of human rights spans a remarkable range of eras, concepts, and disciplines. Tying it all together are his consistent commitment to showcase multiple sides of debates and the clarity of his writing. Complex yet accessible – a rare combination.”
Shareen Hertel, Professor of Political Science & Human Rights, University of Connecticut

“Michael Freeman has been one of the leading and most reliable theorists of human rights for decades. His approach to human rights is rigorously analytical and reasonable. In this latest edition of his Human Rights, he offers a detailed and objective perspective upon a series of contemporary human rights challenges, whilst also proposing ways in which we might more effectively engage with these challenges in the years ahead. His book should be essential reading for students and established academics alike.”
Dr Andrew Fagan, SFHEA Director, Human Rights Centre

“Michael Freeman is a long-time and careful observer of internationally recognized human rights.  Students and faculty alike always benefit from his insights into that subject covering both theory and practice.  There are sound reasons for his being a well-known scholar on that important topic.”
David Forsythe, University of Nebraska

“As we strain to make human rights 'real' in a range of sectors, such as education, health and housing, we need educationalists, health professionals, housing experts, and those working in other disciplines. The watchword is interdisciplinarity. Freeman provides a top-notch interdisciplinary introduction to the foundations of human rights for everyone wanting to make human rights relevant in the everyday lives of everybody.”
Paul Hunt, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission

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