The 1980s & 1990s saw a shift in major international trends toward enforcing international judicial procedures in an effort to hold individual political actors responsible for crimes against humanity. Further, the embrace of foreign judicial procedures resulted in a "justice cascade" that now applies to all political leaders guilty of past abuses of human rights. It is contended that this cascade of norms is the result of the efforts of a transnational justice advocacy network, comprising connected groups of activist lawyers. The justice cascade is spreading throughout Latin America & other countries, & it is predicted that foreign human rights trials will have an important domestic effect.
Constructivism is an approach to social analysis that deals with the role of human consciousness in social life. It asserts that human interaction is shaped primarily by ideational factors, not simply material ones; that the most important ideational factors are widely shared or “intersubjective” beliefs, which are not reducible to individuals; and that these shared beliefs construct the interests of purposive actors. In international relations, research in a constructivist mode has exploded over the past decade, creating new and potentially fruitful connections with long-standing interest in these issues in comparative politics. In this essay, we evaluate the empirical research program of constructivism in these two fields. We first lay out the basic tenets of constructivism and examine their implications for research methodology, concluding that constructivism's distinctiveness lies in its theoretical arguments, not in its empirical research strategies. The bulk of the essay explores specific constructivist literatures and debates in international relations and comparative politics.
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.