Books & Book Chapters

I’m an international relations specialist best known for my work on human rights, international norms, transnational advocacy networks and social movements, and transitional justice. I teach at the Harvard Kennedy School, where I’m the Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. I’m trying to write both for scholars and for members of the public interested in human rights and justice, especially in the books The Justice Cascade, Evidence for Hope, and Activists beyond Borders. My books have been awarded prizes, including the Grawemeyer Award (for Ideas for Improving World Order), the Robert F. Kennedy Center Book Award, and the WOLA/Duke University Award. My most recent book Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century (Princeton University Press, 2017) documents the legitimacy and effectiveness of human rights law, institutions, and movements. I’ve been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and a Guggenheim fellow.

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International Norms, Moral Psychology, and Neuroscience
Price, Richard, and Kathryn Sikkink. 2021. International Norms, Moral Psychology, and Neuroscience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
Research on international norms has yet to answer satisfactorily some of our own most important questions about the origins of norms and the conditions under which some norms win out over others. The authors argue that international relations (IR) theorists should engage more with research in moral psychology and neuroscience to advance theories of norm emergence and resonance. This Element first provides an overview of six areas of research in neuroscience and moral psychology that hold particular promise for norms theorists and international relations theory more generally. It next surveys existing literature in IR to see how literature from moral psychology is already being put to use, and then recommends a research agenda for norms researchers engaging with this literature. The authors do not believe that this exchange should be a one-way street, however, and they discuss various ways in which the IR literature on norms may be of interest and of use to moral psychologists, and of use to advocacy communities.
The Hidden Face of Rights: towards a politics of responsibilities
Sikkink, Kathryn. 2020. The Hidden Face of Rights: towards a politics of responsibilities. New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, 208. Publisher's Version Abstract
Why we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize human responsibilities

When we debate questions in international law, politics, and justice, we often use the language of rights—and far less often the language of responsibilities. Human rights scholars and activists talk about state responsibility for rights, but they do not articulate clear norms about other actors’ obligations. In this book, Kathryn Sikkink argues that we cannot truly implement human rights unless we also recognize and practice the corresponding human responsibilities.
Focusing on five areas—climate change, voting, digital privacy, freedom of speech, and sexual assault—where on-the-ground (primarily university campus) initiatives have persuaded people to embrace a close relationship between rights and responsibilities, Sikkink argues for the importance of responsibilities to any comprehensive understanding of political ethics and human rights.

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