Skip to main content
The Human Rights Enterprise: Political Sociology, State Power, and Social Movements
  • William T Armaline, San Jose State University
  • Davita S. Glasberg, University of Connecticut
  • Bandana Purkayastha, University of Connecticut
Why do powerful states like the U.S., U.K., China, and Russia repeatedly fail to meet their international legal obligations as defined by human rights instruments? How does global capitalism affect states’ ability to implement human rights, particularly in the context of global recession, state austerity, perpetual war, and environmental crisis? How are political and civil rights undermined as part of moves to impose security and surveillance regimes? 
This book presents a framework for understanding human rights as a terrain ofstruggle over power between states, private interests, and organized, “bottom-up”social movements. The authors develop a critical sociology of human rights focusingon the concept of the <em>human rights enterprise</em>: the process through whichrights are defined and realized. While states are designated arbiters of human rightsaccording to human rights instruments, they do not exist in a vacuum. Politicalsociology helps us to understand how global neoliberalism and powerful non-governmental actors (particularly economic actors such as corporations and financialinstitutions) deeply affect states’ ability and likelihood to enforce human rightsstandards.
This book offers keen insights for understanding rights claims, and theinstitutionalization of, access to, and restrictions on human rights. It will be invaluableto human rights advocates, and undergraduate and graduate students across the socialsciences.
Publication Date
Citation Information
William T Armaline, Davita S. Glasberg and Bandana Purkayastha. The Human Rights Enterprise: Political Sociology, State Power, and Social Movements. (2015)
Available at: