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Sociology Assignment: A Literature Review Theorizing Human Rights


Task: Prepare a sociology assignment presenting a literature review on five topics theorizing human rights?


Topic 1: Are Human Rights Universal?
It is stated in this sociology assignment that human rights are the basic norms that indicate the human behavior standards; these are regularly protected as the legal and natural rights of every individual. The study conducted by Donnelly, (2011) has demonstrated the gradual social construction of human rights in the international context. On the other hand, Pearce, (2001) has contributed to the domain of sociology by presenting the arguments regarding human rights in western and the non-western world, with the inference of the observations from the social setting of Africa.

Pearce, (2001) demonstrates the relations between human rights and sociology in the study. The author depicts that the implication of sociological theories and concepts rather falls behind its proper implication in human rights discourse. The western scholars have claimed that an individual is the basic subject of human rights- hence it should be considered as the universal perspective. The disagreement with the claims brings the concept of universalism versus cultural relativism. The author argues that the sociological concepts and theories have had a major contribution towards shaping human rights in non-western countries, like Africa and other third world countries. When the western perspective supported universal plans that were introduced to Africa, the indigenous life setting was abruptly changed. In Africa, it was believed that an individual has their own trajectory to lead a life, hence the human rights associates an individual's responsibility for life (Pearce, 2001). To support the argument that the human right has not completely internationalized, Pearce, (2001) has presented the evidence from Africa which is discussed in this section of sociology assignment. The human rights of a married couple of Africa are presented which depicts that though the wives were as 'traditional compounds' and lived with the husband's kin, they had their rights which could not be infringed by their husbands. When the husbands dare to temper with the wife, she was given the right to leave him. In contrast, the western perspective depicts that to serve the rights of an individual, the responsibility is not limited to the individual level, and it is the responsibility of the society instead. The non-western countries have an 'individualist' approach for human rights.

In contrast, western perspectives approach it as 'collectivist'. For instance, if an American child has the right to healthcare, the state, parents, and doctors must protect the right. Thereby, authors have shown the human rights are not always universal, as it differs with countries.

As opposed to the arguments made by Pearce, (2001) considered in the sociology assignment, Donnelly, (2011) counter argues that human rights have been internationalized and universalized to an extent. The enforcement and implication of human rights are kept at the national level though. Donnelly, (2011) argues that the significance of human rights is the weapon to defend human dignity against the factors affecting the same. The paper discusses the events and stages which lead to the internationalization of human rights. It started from World war II, when human rights were declared as a secondary concern, then came the human rights covenants where the basic rights were recognized as international. Gradually the Carter revival and post-cold war era brought improvements in national practices of human rights (Donnelly, 2011). However, during the cold war, human rights were restricted to international arenas and supported multilateralism. For instance, the US implied the language of democracy and freedom; but not all human rights. The soviets spoke for specific abuse, for instance, colonialism, racism, as well as unemployment, instead of general human rights.

The evidence presented to support the arguments of Donnelly, (2011) is compelling, as the author has referred to the speech of the politicians, the extracts from the contemporary Universal Declaration documents, UN documents, and so on. It is rather the biggest strength of the piece of literature. The gradual development of human rights is explored phase by phase, which makes it more comprehensive. The study has presented the outline of the human rights recognized to be international and the practices at the national level. The biggest strength of Pearce, (2001) is it has demonstrated the big picture of the argument between western and non-western debates for sociology and human rights. However, the study developed in the sociology assignment is rather observational and so much clear conclusive findings are presented.

Topic 2: Culture and group rights
According to Donnelly (2007), the anthropological along with ontological universality are politically along with philosophically as well as empirically indefensive. The author emphasizes that the universal human right needs to be properly understood and a considerable space needs to be provided for understanding the culture along with National and regional particularity and several other forms of relativity and diversity. As per Penna and Campbell (1998), the three areas of human rights include non- discrimination, gender, and a sound environment. The author focused on discussing human rights discourse from the perspective of non-discrimination while considering the example of Pre-colonial and postcolonial Africa followed by understanding the gender equality in the same scenario of Africa and finally explain the environmental rights followed in traditional Africa.

As per Donnelly (2007), the use of article 18 of the universal declaration can be used for explaining the universities. He used the illustration of articles of racial discrimination convention and the international covenant on civil and political rights to explain his perspective along with indicating the issues observed while explaining the universities. He justified that the balance between two competing human rights can be considered as an issue rather than the conflict between values of human rights and other values. The main focus of Donnelly (2007) was to break the relative universality of human rights into international functionality as well as informing the readers about historical or anthropological universality. However, Penna and Campbell (1998) considered the scenario of Africa and attempted to explain the human rights and factors influencing them in the pre-colonial as well as the post-colonial scenario of Africa. The authors attempted to justify their perspective by specifying arguments of Australian Westernised elites and analyze their perspective to ensure that the readers can receive proper evidence for the theories presented by them. Penna and Campbell (1998) take it that the values presented of human rights by the struggle African society however cannot represent the absolute perspective of the struggle. The authors attempted to inform the riddles about the impact of colonialism on the general structure followed in traditional Africa. It can be interpreted from the work that the elements identified by the authors have a definite impact on human rights which changed from pre-colonial Africa to post-colonial Africa.

The arguments presented by Donnelly (2008) with regards to the case scenario of sociology assignmentare somewhat compelling because the arguments presented by the author are well classified and ensures that readers can connect with the components considered important by the author. The author was able to explain the connection between the components of universality along with indicating the issues and grounds presented by the universalities. The use of illustration for explaining the components of human rights and universities helps the readers to receive evidence for the facts presented by the author. The use of articles from the Universal Declaration and the racial discrimination convention implies the ability of the author to utilize appropriate available sources to explain his perspective. The argument presented by Penna and Campbell (1998) is extremely compelling because the authors directly used quotations to inform the readers about the statement presented regarding the University of human rights by educated colonists and the implication of the University of human rights in a particular era. While explaining gender equality the author's directory presented the meaning of the universality of human rights in 1983 by directly coaching the reports of the national United Nations development program regarding human rights.

The arguments presented by wood the authors are not related to each other. However, the main objective of both writers undertaken in this section of sociology assignment is to explain to the readers about the factors which influence human rights. The strength of the article by Donnelly (2008) is that the author effectively e distributed the relative universality of human rights into small parts that allowed the author to ensure that the readers can connect with the elements of relative universality. The weakness is that the authors do not use proper evidence while explaining the individual components of related universality and directly presented two illustrations aiming to explain every component. The strength of Penna and Campbell (1998) is the use of quotes and ideas presented by previous colonialists and elites. The readers can receive backup information along with the ideas presented by the authors. However, the weakness of the article is that the authors mainly focused on extending the information collected from previous colonialists and elites while presenting limited information about the ideas of the author.

Topic-3: Gender and Human Rights
Certain points are arguments are made by the author's Bunch and Friedman in the years 1990 and 1995 in their books. The authors have said that as the world population is increasing the different types of torture terrorism mutilation starvation etc are significantly increasing. All these factors noted in the sociology assignmentare mainly seen in a female (Bunch, 1990). A clear record is kept on the different types of torture that are done on women but even after that the rights of the woman are not commonly classified as human rights. It should be classified as human rights because their deaths and abuse are also as problematic as others. This is such a situation which is concerning with the human rights that is being problematic in the practical world as well as in theoretical knowledge because there are many consequences the society has to face Regarding the rights of woman and how the issues of woman lives have been treated (Friedman, 1995). The authors wanted to portray that human rights and the woman's rights should be viewed as together distinctly and the implications of all the laws should be equal as well.

There are certain shreds of evidence or example that the authors used to convince the readers of their argument violence which are happening against the woman globally. Some of the facts that the authors have laid into their argument is that it can be seen in the United States that the leading cause of injury for any adult woman is battery and rape is being committed every six minutes. Of the next example that the authors have taken is that in Peru most of the crimes that are 70% have been recorded to the fullest and those have included women who are continuously beaten by their partners, their fiancées, and even their family members. In Peru, 168970 rapes were also being reported in one the year of 1987 (Bunch, 1990). The next argument that has been taken from the author in the present context of sociology assignment is that in India it can be seen that 8 out of 10 females or wives are a victim of brutal violence and even doubt related abuse can be seen. Where people are less fortunate the woman is also murdered. All these arguments were made by the authors and it can be said that these arguments have been given to convince the reader of the argument they are making.

The arguments which were presented by the authors are extremely convincing. The statistical facts which are happening all over the world were mentioned and proper figures were also given. By this, it can be seen that as the proper figures are given the statement might be true. Moreover, it can be easily seen in the streets that how women are treated and how much problematic issues have to be faced by a woman on a daily level. Sometimes it is also safe that home can be one of the most dangerous places for women and that is the frequent site where torture takes place (Bunch, 1990). All these numbers and statistics and graphs that were presented by the author do not reflect the full extent of the problem and how much women are suffering. It can also be seen that there is certain fear within people and political spheres where it is decided that the patriarchal interests will be high and the oppression of women will be continued (Friedman, 1995). All the statistics data examples etc and also the convincing that were put by the author were extremely relevant.

The arguments of each author do relate to each other and there are some strengths and weaknesses of the arguments that are found when compared. The relation of the authors and their arguments are similar because both of them are talking about woman rights and how they should be promoted. it can also be seen in the writings of the author Friedman that In the book it is being talked about the woman’s human rights movement which took place with the efforts of women’s rights and the framework wanted to promote the achievement woman are getting in the area of economy, society, etc (Friedman, 1995). The main focus of both of the authors was looking into how much pain and abuse the woman have been and promoting their rights and also promoting that their needs are as equal as any other person in the world. These trends of both their arguments are that they have made a point that has a strong voice and they have also given statistics an example to support their argument. One weakness can be identified which is they could have involved many laws and such to compel their views.

Topic 4: The Environment, Global Economy, and Human Rights
The sociology assignmentdiscusses the vindications about Environment, Global Economy, and Human Rights. The arguments stated by the author, backed by the relevant pieces of evidence have been mentioned.

The vindication considered by the author highlights the importance of human rights and the impact of global warming upon human rights. According to Aminzadeh (2006), environmental issues and climatic changes are intimidating the human rights of those abiding in pretentious communities. The eventual objective of the climate change campaign is to promote countries to reduce their Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. Reduction in the emission of such gases will reduce the concentration in the atmosphere stabilizing and contracting anthropogenic emissions.

Limon (2009) argues that the problem of climate change indicates the requirement for to reconceive human right policies, and evokes the need to re-evaluate the viability of environmental rights. The author also deflects the perspective of a ministerial rather than that of a legal professional. The human rights proposition and criteria can attract several advantages to International and national endeavors to react to global warming.

Limon (2009) presented a strong argument for the reader as the scientific community has explained the global climate change due to the ever-growing exploitation of resources. The reader is engaged due to the concern of the grave impact on the human environment. The exploitation if the climate by the industry is a way of infringement of human rights, and the reader is compelled to engage in the author's argument. The involvement of the lawyers' community in the effort to curb climate change addressing the major global organization is the center of interest. The readings of Aminzadeh (2006) and Limon (2009) considered in thesociology assignment incorporate the awakening of the law community to embark on the journey of reconstruction of climate change and bring back the normalcy in the emission.

The impact of atmospheric issues such as air water and noise pollution on the physical condition of human and healthy less is largely identified. However the direct connection between human rights and environmental change is not profoundly clear yet the changes affect the health of the public, food, framework, and natural assets.

The legal practitioners and environment activists have started using legal persons and other legitimate methods to mold success. The initial qualitative attempts that human rights regulations can make to climate change policy even stronger are by stressing accountability mechanics. Climate change is the reason for increased seriousness and recurrence of vigorous events and environmental calamities. The rapidly changing of climate has also caused warming of water bodies and constituting a threat to the Marine life, which is already diminishing at an increasing rate.

The argument of the considered authors is similar to a great extent as both authors are attempting to reconstruct the damage done to the climate by the effort to develop the global economy. The authors have addressed the issue from the moral and political points of view, but the point of concern is similar. Herein sociology assignment, the author acknowledges that the Human Rights approach in connection to environmental change legal Pursuit is a theoretical attraction appeal, it still withholds major legitimate obstacles. The author claims that restructuring climate change policies in regards to human rights will be significant in its terms.

The author admits that the idea of climate change is not recently discovered but is similar to environmental rights and has a long history. However the author also so enlightens the fact that the fear of revealing the states with unacceptable human rights situations has lagged the situation behind.

As discussed by the author, the remedies provided for human rights integration with climate exchange policy are majorly short term or middle term. The recommendations are mostly prescriptive and pedagogic which is diverted from the impartiality. The author tends to ignore the subjective knowledge and avoid ecological applicability. As a result, it is more theoretical and becomes difficult to imply the recommendation in real-life situations.

Here the more Emphasis has been made on the environmental perspective of human rights which somehow reduced the required attention from other important human rights goals.

The approaches mentioned by both the authors noted in this sociology assignment can be considered and combined with the other environmental issues. The Synergy effect would prompt serious remedies to the available environmental deficiencies.

Topic-5: The future of human rights
Hannah Miler the prominent author and professor of Human rights issued an alternative engaging approach to human rights. This article reviewed to prepare this sociology assignment raised a voice on the diverse threats, opportunities, challenges faced by humans who influence the implementation of NGOs to save human rights (Miller, 2017). Besides those issues and challenges, it w3as also mentioned the other influences behind the formation of NGOs and the reasons behind it subcategorized into two approaches namely, the political approach and the faith. Depending on these topics Miller also clarifies two different approaches of human rights within the article.

Paul Gready, the activist and advocate published an article on the RBA and it added the value-based approach to the study by mentioning four kinds of values that can be added and mentioned to them respectively to discuss the issue. Being from the law background the paper mainly concentrates on the legal issues and facilities to the value-added system. And the first approach to mention the value-added system is the indirect or direct use of law in a strategic way and secondly the engagement of states and the appropriate position of the state to ensure value addition also mentioned. And in the third, the RBA and value-added approach became correlated by using the accountability of the state into the RBA (Miller, 2017).

To address the RBA related issues, social problems related to human the author used the example of NGO and the rejection of numerous NGOs and the reason behind the failure or rejection of the NGOs are the rejection of RBA and it was also clarified that the most of the NGOs are focused 5o raise voices and protect the human right but in their Approach, the presence of RBA is missing. And the above mentioned two perspectives are these two. Even the classification or the sub categorization of the NGOs possesses two distinctive approaches and one is faith-based as mentioned and the second one is the political based. To define the line between these two a clearer analysis also made and that suggested faith-based are the relevant one as the incorporation of RBA is found in their voices. The campaign strategy fixed by the organization is more focused on the faith-based technique and it is also seen that the normative approach of the study absents in this approach. Besides this the voice, the biblical values also added to accept the benefits from the political arena. Analyzing the faith-based structure of the NGO it is mentioned that the modern and futuristic language of right should be expressed in a voice to address the issues for all, universal approaches. The inclusion of this universal perspective is sometimes defined as the prime issue behind the voice for right. But as per the author, the use of RBA and so much focus on RBA is not such a necessary thing. Utilizing the rights to talk, human rights issues can be addressed in a more articulated way (Miller, 2017). And RBA needs to be excluded for the limitations observed in it.

Whether Paul identifies the current status of Human rights as a critical stage and a contradictory position between the crisis and the expansion is drawn. He identified the -matter of human rights as socially, politically, and geographically contradictory issues. The description of the mainstream politics is included as an example to address the issue. Absence of the political ideology and morality in mainstream politics, the human right is now being treated as a form of morality or the fact of idealism (Gready, 2008). This information provided in the sociology assignmentalso clarifies that, without reaching the exact need for Human rights and the consequences of the decay of human rights, a social figure is structured to denote the safety of human rights. The topic of World Bank like global institutions is also mentioned to define that human rights need to be emulated in the practice of an organization, rather focusing on the idealism. Also, for the futuristic development of human rights, the implementation of Law is important as it helps them to focus on human rights. It has either a direct contribution or an indirect contribution as when a case appears at the court, the government and the situation drive to structure new policies and regulations to preserve the human right.

So, for the futuristic approach, the first one suggests avoiding RBA for its limitations, and the second one advice to preserve the human rights within the organizational structure and practices with right based approach (Gready, 2008). Law and regulation, engagement of state can assist the voices to be raised for human rights.

Reference list
Aminzadeh, S.C., 2006. A moral imperative: the human rights implications of climate change. Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev., 30, p.231.

Bunch, C. (1990) ‘Women’s Rights as Human Rights’, Human Rights Quarterly, 12 (4) pp. 486-98 Donnelly, J., 2007. The relative universality of human rights. Sociology assignmentHuman rights quarterly, pp.281-306.

Donnelly, J., 2011. The social construction of international human rights. RELACIONES INTERNACIONALES-MADRID, (17), pp.153-184.

Friedman, E. (1995) 'Women's Human Rights: The Emergence of a Movement' in Peters, J., and Wolper, A. (eds) Women's Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives. Routledge: London, pp. 18- 35

Gready, P., 2008. Rights-based approaches to development: what is the value-added?. Development in practice, 18(6), pp.735-747.

Limon, M., 2009. Human rights and climate change: Constructing a case for political action. Harv. Envtl. L. Rev., 33, p.439.

Miller, H., 2017. Rejecting “rights-based approaches” to development: Alternative engagements with human rights. Journal of Human Rights, 16(1), pp.61-78.

Pearce, T.O., 2001. Human rights and sociology: Some observations from Africa. Social problems, 48(1), pp.48-56.

Penna, D.R. and Campbell, P.J., 1998. Human rights and culture: beyond universality and relativism. Third World Quarterly, 19(1), pp.7-27.


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