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Human Rights Cities: Local Governance or a Way of Life? - A study of the historical conception of human rights cities and their progressive potential in promoting a more inclusive and participatory human rights paradigm today

Viborg Jensen, Sofie LU (2018) WPMM42 20181
Sociology
School of Social Work
Department of Sociology
Abstract
In a time where political populism and critiques against the international human rights paradigm has resulted in a global backlash against global governance systems, including human rights, the thesis sets out to explore the notion of human rights cities as a prospective mean to confront contemporary social challenges related to social inclusion and participation. The thesis relies on an emerging human rights-oriented sociological framework, emphasising a critical tradition, which view human rights as relevant for the study of welfare policies and management. The thesis makes distinctions between notions of human rights cities as a way of life and human rights cities as governance through a critical analysis of grey literature, secondary... (More)
In a time where political populism and critiques against the international human rights paradigm has resulted in a global backlash against global governance systems, including human rights, the thesis sets out to explore the notion of human rights cities as a prospective mean to confront contemporary social challenges related to social inclusion and participation. The thesis relies on an emerging human rights-oriented sociological framework, emphasising a critical tradition, which view human rights as relevant for the study of welfare policies and management. The thesis makes distinctions between notions of human rights cities as a way of life and human rights cities as governance through a critical analysis of grey literature, secondary case study reviews, expert interviews and reflections from participation in meetings and conferences. Structured as a historical analysis, focusing on new actors and their appropriation of the human rights concept, the thesis ends up identifying a shift in the foundational mechanisms behind the human rights city from initially relying on human rights learning and education towards an increased emphasis on a human rights-based approach to local governance. (Less)
Popular Abstract
The thesis is a product of the author’s curiosity to understand how so-called human rights cities have developed and transformed, as an idea and as a practical tool over the last 20 years. The thesis is about how different movements, organisations and levels of governments have taken up the idea of working with human rights in cities and municipalities, through the concept of human rights cities in an attempt to re-establish the relevance of human rights at the local level. The thesis explores how the idea of creating such cities was initially developed in the late 90’s as a tool to enhance local understandings of what human rights is, through a critical pedagogical approach to human rights education as a tool for community development.... (More)
The thesis is a product of the author’s curiosity to understand how so-called human rights cities have developed and transformed, as an idea and as a practical tool over the last 20 years. The thesis is about how different movements, organisations and levels of governments have taken up the idea of working with human rights in cities and municipalities, through the concept of human rights cities in an attempt to re-establish the relevance of human rights at the local level. The thesis explores how the idea of creating such cities was initially developed in the late 90’s as a tool to enhance local understandings of what human rights is, through a critical pedagogical approach to human rights education as a tool for community development. Today, however, the idea has been transformed, by new actors, into being more about how to manage and govern cities rather than being about deliberating people to appropriate human rights for themselves. This development is unfortunate as there is a need to re-emphasise the importance of participation and inclusion in a time where there is decreasing levels of trust in authorities and populism is on the rise and human rights as an idea in itself is questioned and criticised from multiple angles. What the thesis specifically contribute with is its attempt to link the past to the present conception as initial research showed that new actors do not necessarily rely on, or know about, the initial idea of what a human rights city was meant to be about. The thesis bases it is arguments on critical sociological ideas about human rights, which understands human rights not only as international law but as ideas that are constructed through social interactions and conversations between different people and in different organisations within different social structures in different parts of the world. All these conversations contribute to the development of human rights cities in different ways. The thesis frames its analysis around a set of predefined critiques against international human rights as they are broadly understood today, exploring how human rights cities could possibly be a way to challenge such critiques. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Viborg Jensen, Sofie LU
supervisor
organization
course
WPMM42 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Sociology of Human Rights, Critical Theory, Human Rights, Local Governance, Community Development, Cities, Human Rights Education
language
English
id
8958379
date added to LUP
2018-09-11 08:56:24
date last changed
2018-09-11 08:56:24
@misc{8958379,
  abstract     = {In a time where political populism and critiques against the international human rights paradigm has resulted in a global backlash against global governance systems, including human rights, the thesis sets out to explore the notion of human rights cities as a prospective mean to confront contemporary social challenges related to social inclusion and participation. The thesis relies on an emerging human rights-oriented sociological framework, emphasising a critical tradition, which view human rights as relevant for the study of welfare policies and management. The thesis makes distinctions between notions of human rights cities as a way of life and human rights cities as governance through a critical analysis of grey literature, secondary case study reviews, expert interviews and reflections from participation in meetings and conferences. Structured as a historical analysis, focusing on new actors and their appropriation of the human rights concept, the thesis ends up identifying a shift in the foundational mechanisms behind the human rights city from initially relying on human rights learning and education towards an increased emphasis on a human rights-based approach to local governance.},
  author       = {Viborg Jensen, Sofie},
  keyword      = {Sociology of Human Rights,Critical Theory,Human Rights,Local Governance,Community Development,Cities,Human Rights Education},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Human Rights Cities: Local Governance or a Way of Life? - A study of the historical conception of human rights cities and their progressive potential in promoting a more inclusive and participatory human rights paradigm today},
  year         = {2018},
}