Globalization, Social Justice and Human Rights
Sumaries [Sumários em português]
Fall semestre 2017
presentation of the theory of communicative action: conditions
needed for modern communication. On the one hand, there are the
meanings in which we make sense / give meaning to what surrounds us
and to what begins in the process of communication, within which we
also identify ourselves as contributors and participants announcers
(we become aware of ourselves when we are already communicating;
Habermas call this areas of Lebenswelt / Lifeworld). On the other
hand, there are domains (systems) in which individuals are suspended
about symbols they cannot control (one cannot redefine the meaning
and the uses of wording and the power of the symbols everybody use).
The administration and the economy have legal powers granted, except
in new legislative processes; The value of money is not discussed.
What is at stake is to articulate these two radically different
domains: Lifeworld and systems. This is one of the major problems
societies are call to deal with. In a first step, Habermas
approaches this problem, in several places in the Theory of the
Communicative Action in the light of the "colonization of the
Lebenswelt" thesis: the domination of the systems would extend
progressively, while diminishing the opportunities one have to
define by ourselves the sense experiences. This thesis has been
illustrated by Habermas using his research on sociology of law. He
notice the juridical regalement trend in each time more present in
different social sectors, such as family, education. He call it
"Juridification" (see text Trends toward Juridification, which is
one of the last chapters of Theory of Communicative Action). In a
second phase, one is interested in the way Lebenswelt "fences" the
systems (in the book Facts and Norms  1996, available in the
an expression that has start circulating since the 80's and especially
90's of the last century. Although one can say that the tendency towards
globalization is an innate characteristic in the human species, since
leaving Africa it has done nothing more than colonize the world. Europe
in particular began to colonize the world from the 14th century on.
International maritime trade (as opposed to the silk route and all the
commercial land routes, as well as the struggles between the knights of
the Euro-Asian steppe and the sedentary societies) follows the first
steps of what in the nineteenth century came to be call colonization.
Capitalism, as a system, arises in the midst of these events, in
England; and expands with them.
The need for a human rights theory, raised by Amartya Sem, goes on to
explain how these rights are acquired by the people and in what context
they are enjoyed. Some say that rights are inseparable from obligations
and duties, without which rights do not exist. That is to say, who
benefits from the rights is because it has the conditions to maintain
them, that is, to fulfill obligations.
September. the 27th
Human Rights regime
Before listening to the individual motivations of those present to attend the course, the teacher explained the way of functioning of the two sites of the course - the website of the summaries and the readings; the NING website, used as blogs site, to post and to comment. The quantification of the final evaluation was presented, as well.
In the second part of the lesson the notion of human rights regime was presented as a postwar movement that involved moral, political and institutional issues. This movement is interpreted in the light of American imperial logic, which characterizes the same historical period, in the light of the influence of good ideas and imagination of what justice in real life is, in the light of institutional constructivism. The human rights movement uses a number of legal instruments, such as manifestoes and declarations, with no legal value, but with symbolic and cultural value; conventions oblige signatory states to incorporate international law in their national legislation; recommendations frame international evaluation of good legislation.
The practical value of the law, and in particular of human rights law, is often contested as it is disregarded by states. In fact, human rights law aims to provide individual with the means to appeal to the courts in defense of their interests and rights violated by states. The law and the courts, of course, are not enough to prevent abuses of power. They can stand for damning judgments and demand that cases of abuse not be repeated. They do so by shaming the states that are condemned, presenting them to the international community as violators of law and morality. Its effects are not abolitionists of state abuses. They are, in any case, an instrument of defense (of people) and of attack (of non-compliant states) that has borne fruit, to be evaluated on another occasion.
About existing international legal instruments aiming at the promotion of human rights, see the commented list published on the website “Sociology of Law at ISCTE-IUL”. Important distinction: between binding and non binding instruments (frequently used terminology: hard law / soft law). Both have to be adopted by a formal decision of an international organization. On top of this, binding instruments – usually called “conventions” – have to be ratified by the member states of these organizations, through domestic procedures comparable to legislative procedures. Such binding documents may supply legal foundations to procedures against the states that ratified the conventions. Non binding documents – declarations, recommendations – cannot be invoked as such; however, references to them may help the construction of legal arguments.
Admittedly, legal documents have a considerable symbolic impact, even if they are poorly or not at all implemented in practice. Such a symbolic impact is to be observed in the domain of corporate social responsibility. Organizations grouping private corporations, in order to improve the social image of their members, encourage them to take into consideration human rights in their relations with clients and employees, while human rights, in legal terms, only apply to the states in their relations with the people.
Fall semestre 2014
Fall semestre 2013
Assessment and closure
Social-economic rights, cultural rights, workers and nature rights
A presentation of the four generation of Human Rights. A brief discussion of the path and activity of each one.
Civic and political rights did help to integrate women and young people in the voting population. Prisoners and immigrants still are excluded in many cases. Socioeconomic rights in the Welfare State are backward these days, as well being reformulated. Emergent cultural rights work through minority language education, the official use of these languages, public recognition of the cognitive value of minorities´ cultures, creations’ and traditions. Nature rights is only declarative, at the moment: it meant to address diversity both in human cultures as in human habitat and ecological sites.
About Nature rights, one should look at the political rising of first people in Bolivia and Equator and their commitment to record their ancestral views on nature and a constitutional national and world heritage available through the resistance to colonialism of these people.
For a comprehensive understanding, Human Rights should be referred as an all. The resistances to the enforcement of Human Rights declarations claim for new and specific developments and clarifications of what they intend and mean, in all complexity and extension. This is different from specialization approach, splitting in parts what can be apart, turning thoughts and actions simpler and, as well, losing perspective of the sense and results of the actions – we call it alienation.
A group work has been presented and discussed. It dealt with recycling food and helping Lisbon needy families.
Human Rights of women and children
Human Rights are an institution. Historically it starts with the idea of all people are equal, as a natural right. The US Constitution and the French declaration of “Droit de l´Homme” by the citizens of the French Revolution give them modern form. After the World Wars, UN supported, as a global institution, the Universal Human Rights Declaration that started the recent story of Human Rights. It needs a code built on top of the brutality of the imperial wars, the industrialization of warfare, atomic terror, suicidal aggressive politics in Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. It joined UN Security Council as a not as much important pace making institution.
The first lady, wife of the US President, leaded the diplomatic break trough, in1946, when UN General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It his till today the normative support for the Human Rights Commission and the legal jurisprudence in different international and national courts, in Europe and Latin America. European Council imposes to every member States to comply with all Human Rights international treaties, and to their jurisprudential interpretation developed by Human Rights European Court, as well from UN Human Rights Commission.
Institution refers to a formal statement of a principle or set of principles that apply in a certain territory and the populations inside it. One should avoid the confusion between institution (a desired principle) and the institutional organization (organization that should aim to enforce the institution for everybody and fails some times, or even many times).
A norm is a statement and generally does not conform to reality. It means the reverse: it means it would be right society and people to conform to the declared principles. It only be possible if society and people find the pathways to avoid obstacles and oppositions to welfare. Norms can help eventually to fight for a better society and a better life. (For instance: capital penalty still remain working and some States protect the death of humans by the State in a cold mood, in order to support a certain political order. Human Rights legislation complies with these kinds of procedures because it feels no able to oppose them as a matter of political principle).
Many times the recover from an offense is not possible, even when the court and the state try it. Even so, the simple recognition of the legal right of one victim of shearing the human condition available to all other humans has a living effect on people and moralize society.
Court justice work for confirmation (or not) of the injustice made and its main immediate causes. Under an intellectual discipline that translates single empirical facts in terms of violations of stated abstract and universal norms. Law is the discipline that studies norms, their practical applications, now a day and in the past, what, at present, in the past and what presumably would be in the near future, is the use of understanding of the norms, legal procedures, ways of driving the judicial procedures at the proper organizations, ways of support each one´s interest in court as well outside the court.
Modern laws apply to everybody. Even not everybody is treated the same way by the courts and all proceedings around it, regardless the good will of the judiciary personnel. Economic and finance limits the accessibility to legal bargaining. Social and cognitive capital is, as well, able to differentiate people entering the courts. The virtual world claims universality of the law. The practical world has a lot of obstacles to deliver such a result.
The reified idea of the law – and human rights law as well – as an automatic protection for the people that works directly in the real world without material and bloody mediation does not conform with experience. The law is only a fighting instrument available to help people to join, to gather, to call attention, to mobilize, to claim for help from the State, to call for allies. The law follows the social fights, can be used to turn the fights in conflict for a while and avoid violence. If it takes too long, it could support a violent reaction against the obstacles to justice. As well the case can be brought high in the international courts. Using their judgment to built in their prestige.
The 1979 Convention of All Forms of Discrimination the Rights of the
Human Rights - introduction
Nov. 6 - Project design complete by the group -- at this point, everything should be prepared for realizing the project, i.e., the overall structure will be drafted, literature (al least preliminary) will be found, locations and concrete partners will be identified, etc. This marks the start of the fieldwork or research by students, if not already so.
Nov 13- Intermediate report on the project
The International Labour Organization ILO was been established at the end of the First World War. Social justice at work has been envisaged as a peace previous condition. It works as a tripartite organization instead of a intergovernmental instance as are mostly other international bodies. Every member State is represented by their government, their workers unions and entrepreneur associations. ILO main activity is to produce international conventions in labor market maters, its development in the international arena in order to become accepted and ratified by member States and monitoring its enforcement. ILO mission is defined, now a day, by four documents linked to four important moments of the raising of this institution: its Constitution, from 1919; Philadelphia Declaration, from 1944, stressing the relevance of individual dignity and freedom as legal rights; the Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work, from 1998 (answering the situation built by World Trade Organization, from 1995) that convey member States to compromise with these rights, regardless what other conventions they may ratify; the declaration on Social justice towards a just globalization, from 2008.
To expand its action to labor subjects more informal e less organized is one ILO priority, these days. The adoption of a convention on domestic work, at the 100th ILO Conference 2012, is an example. This adoption has consequences in the momentum explored by several NGO and research centers that join efforts to lobby for national ratification of this convention at national level.
Looking at ILO activities one can understand the distance between the international law, developing a dense net of norms and the respective elaborated control procedures on the field, regarded by several and heterogeneous groups of people concerned, and the State and corporation practices ignoring the law or using it by non authorized reinterpretation regarding economic benefits, exploitation e human trafficking.
Related to the growing concerns with human trafficking, the enforcement means mobilized sometimes open space for arbitrary behavior of agents of the State, including open to inadequate control and repression of citizens in general.
One good reference to think domestic work is Nancy Fraser / Axel Honneth, Redistribution and Recognition, Londres, Verso, 2003.
The Axel Honneth theory has two paths. A theory of society at A luta pela reconhecimento (1992). Following Hegel, Honneth claim three spheres where recognition manifests: love; law; solidarity. A political philosophy: O direito da liberdade. He build on the consensus about freedom to ask: what is freedom? How can it be enforced? He proposes three dimensions about freedom: no constrains; to act respecting each one will; ability to coordinate social actions with partners. The two previous dimensions refer to possibilities of acting free, the last dimension refers to the ability of acting.
The freedom we live now a day is built trough struggles that concerns three systems of action: the intimacy; the economic activities; the will formation by democratic methods. One of the main problems these days is the fact that the build of social will are produced out of national public debate and so the confrontation of individual and societal desires has no way to develop and progress. That is why Honneth propose the build of new supra nationals public spaces where to experience social freedom.
Vulnerabilities, Discriminations, Invisibility
States build a territorial interior and a territorial exterior as well as a different kind of knowledge of what is in and out of the State territory, produced by mass media as well by social sciences. For instance, the long distance migration fluxes traverse different state territories and become invisible in its roots and social density. This invisibility turns unthinkable the reasons and emotions that produces suicidal terrorists between young people with modern lives and socially integrated in western countries.
Juridical problems bring the ignorance about long distance migrant fluxes still more profound, since immigrant policy is build in order to avoid immigrant´s voice. And what about social science responsibilities in giving voice to people that lacks freedom of speech?
With the common structural-functionalist dimensions it is hard to discover these people, because sociology focuses on integration or event in assimilation. Giddens in 1985 proposed to renew social dimensions and adapt them to advanced capitalism. And to look out of the state political borders. With no consequences for the social theory. Most sociological work still considers state controversies as the centre of political problems and obscure global problems and humanitarian problems as real problems. As Göran Therborn states, social theory focus in studying resources and avoid to discuss vitality and existential dimensions of social lives.
Nation-States, Social States ‑ Borders, Migrations
Michael Novak´s paper “Defining Social Justice” has been subject of criticism from Guibentif. He noticed that Hayek individual virtue is not the main social justice principle to every thinker concerned with this topic. The long run, discussed, collective build of social justice institutions and the correlative state and private organizations is other way, eventually more spread, to understand social justice as a social modern phenomena.
The presence of this paper in our syllabus can reflect the different main ideological presumptions in the two borders of the Atlantic Ocean. The Tea Party centrality in the States as well as the irrational trend against scientific way of consider good knowledge is not comparable to any social phenomena in Europe.
The groups should be aware of that whenever receiving information and thoughts from the North American Colleagues.
The group of students that presented their work was concerned with helping the organizations that supports Syrian refuges from the civil war and the way European authorities organize the repression against migrants trying to enter Europe. These and other matters have been discussed with the group in order to develop further their working program.
Global governance and social justice
People, nations, societies mean different things in different epochs. People opposes aristocracy as much as civil society opposes dominant class or military, according to the times. Knowledge focuses on few groups of relevant people. Their dialogue or struggle decides the destiny of the all societies. Much social reality stays out of focus and unknown. Now a day, people benefits from the prestige of the use of the word made by North American and French Revolutions as new and modern sovereign.
People mean enthusiasm, will, violence if needed to enforce its will, as well as delusion; consequence of the confrontation of values, principles, desires, promises and the real history of people and state and civic institutions. Social theory celebrates modern victories as well as inventor obstacles and defeats. Peace, for instance, stays not warranty and progress seems each time again frustrated in many ways, and crises still coming.
Human Rights means to discredit in the future to solve present problems and claim to deliver to everybody the dignity of being humans to decide for each one’s own lives. State do promise, ratifying the different declaration and conventions on human rights, to conform to principles and soft juridical norms that measures the respect of individual human´s rights. This commitment becomes a base for international trust and prestige at international level for dominant class in each part of the world, depending of the mood of the respect that reigns in societies and at the State level regarding Human Rights principals, institutions and the way human rights organizations are respected.
Those groups who want to develop international networking between universities were informed that this week is the dead line to present their claim of interest, supported by a English written document the start of the bargaining on the work of the international group. The bargaining will be conducted with the participation of the teachers from both universities involved in each group.
The rest of the time the class discussed the notion of globalization and the need and possibilities to turn it in a consensual concept.
Globalization attracts opinions, starting in being a good thing and ending with the assessment of being a bad thing. Most opinions, have been said, are not sharp and straight. Nuances recommend imagining a continuum of opinions between these two hard opinions.
There several ways of able us to avoid being stucked in an opinion dispute. Developing a historic perspective on the usage of the word; identifying social entities protagonists of the disputes on globalization conceptualization; looking for causes that explain the historical emergence of the globalization situation.
From a historical point of view, globalization emerges as a fashionable name on the 90´s: after the USRR implosion and the winning of US as the unique superpower on Earth; after the settlement of World Trade Organization (1994). Those who oppose north-American imperialism become negative whenever the subject arises. In 2000 Davos Economic World Forum reunite every year some of the main interests on globalization. The same year, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Social World Fórum reunite all kinds of social movements that oppose “this” globalization, merging those who are against (anti-globalization movements) and those who wants new governance of globalization (alter-globalization movements).
Global governance is an idea introduced by Kant, near the beginning of 19th century and started as the pacifist League of Nation, at the end of the some century. These movements did not avoid the two world wars at the first half of the 20th century. UN emerges under the support of USA, sited in NY, as a moral claim against war and for human rights at the end of the Second World War. Inspiring the building of European friendship between France and Germany, including as well other countries affected by the war and supported by Marshall Investment Plan that transform Europe the same way New Deal (between the USA federation sate and General Motors) transforms north-America.
The present shape of several institutions – with their own history behind – under neo-liberal rule has not emerge in the 90´s. Word Bank, MIF and other world development institutions used by mainstream global governance as main tools started working, for different proposes, earlier; they evolved in order to push ideological agendas through the world. They influence other global governance institutions, as in the health and agriculture fields. They influence little other global governance institutions that oppose this trend, such as those in culture, human rights and equal opportunities fields.
Globalization is caused by long run trends, such as some coming from Western Discoveries started 500 years ago, from French Revolution spirit, from capitalism started by Industrial Revolution, from the idea of a united human kind from two thousand year religious notion of brotherhood and 200 years old idea of diplomatic work to avoid war. New materials, transportation, and information and communication technologies – such as computers, internet, the web of intra banks business, the globalized stock market, easy and cheap plan traveling and the securitarian restrictions to migrations – draw, by the end of the 20th century, new possibilities, conflicts and violence.
After 80´s neo-liberal policies, global governance introduced, besides diplomatic talks in UN, the gathering of NGO´s in order to push public global agenda to address specific global issues, such as climate change, poverty, hunger, AIDS, sustainable development, women emancipation, etc.
For concept building proposes it was noticed the difference between holist (durkheimian) perspectives – that stress the huge and untenable presence of globalization process, as a thing, indifferent to opinions and institutions – and dimensional perspective (weberian) – that stress the sector dynamics, mainly in finance and politics, to show their differences and unbalance as main causes of the social stress we live in. It has been suggested that both perspectives can be useful if properly used: the first one in revolutionary situations, when normal social dimensions blur over each other, becoming one, as when the people arises and claim its sovereignty. The second one useful in normalized times, such as those lived in Portugal between December 1975 and 12th March 2011, with the first multitudinary demonstration that shows the change from normality to a “normal abnormality” on the mind of institutions and people in the country, parallel to foreigner intervention in the govern of the national institutions.
In the class students were instigated to present their intend Lisbon groups/themes in order to organize a casa by case short discussion about how to run the work for the final project each group has to present at the end of the semester. It has been stressed the need of choosing a NGO or alike in order to able the group, the international partners and the teachers to discuss over concrete ground.
Amilcar´s case shows a very structured activism over deaf community and a much defined interest on gestural languages and problems over translation procedures. During the week one confirm the registration of disability as a new field of possible interest for groups and we receive the information that this year one can count on partners in Milan, UK, Miami, L.A. and other north-American city.
As Amilcar is so determined and informed on his chosen theme, it results not so easy to find out Lisbon and international partners, since there is no much room for negotiation. In cases like that one should face the possibility of working in the class alone, out of the groups arrangements. This do not mean it is impossible any international cooperation. But this cooperation will perform out of mainstream work, for instance, by person to person email messages change.
Alexandre´s example of send an email message to the teachers in the middle of the week is a good example how one can run the work, because it allows a reflection and an answer from the teachers, and the message can be shared as well with the other students – using the special webpage created this week for this propose.
This message gives the opportunity to argue that, for the moment, the more urgent need is to find out a empirical anchor where to attach a discussion over the group formation and the way the chosen theme can be address. Each group need to find a website, some activist activity, some activist, some proposals of future activities through what one can discuss in class and with the potential international partners; about thinking how can our scholar work be useful to innovate or depth the work already done in the empirical ground we choose to work in.
A previous knowledge of one reference social organization working on the ground of social justice and human rights would represent for us a base for future discussion over the pratical orientation of the international (comparative) work.
The class session pressured students to rush on the decision making about 2 persons group-one theme-anchor NGO in order to be able to start thinking in depth and in concrete cases. The teachers hope next week to get this goal done.
Students were informed were to find examples of end projects as it is needed to present for evaluation proposes.
The presence of a deaf student as an activist to open universities to accept their participation on regular classes shows who far we are from integrative practices. And how the effort of someone deaf (being able to work with Portuguese, English and French languages plus their gestural languages contra parts) is huge, both personally and socially for the translator.
One can think that globalization (of information and knowledge by the internet) shows, in its brighter side, the before hidden inequalities. There is a new lesson one can follow during this course, with the help of Amilcar.
This first class confront students with the need of adapt different time schedules in order to reach the opportunity to work together with students elsewhere in the world. A 14 double class weeks´ syllabus for 1rst grade study cycle would be joined by a 10 single class weeks of 2nd grade study cycle. A intensive reading cycle would be joined by a intense participation of Lisbon groups.
As tools we have the site of Lisbon class, the central NING site, an international schedule and a national schedule. The latter is divided in two: a) more theoretical one in order to develop a program with international groups, under one of the themes available this year; b) a second part to get to the final pedagogical goals done with some field work. The month of November is open schedule to this taks.
The main tasks of the students would be:
1. Groups/subjects organization
2. Ning blog participation
3. Final project presentation, till 10 January 2014.
Next class it is hoped to get done the first task. It would bring us the opportunity to begin with connection work with other universities and groups.
In this class we read two of the NING blog texts and commented them:
Alexandre Vaz: Globalization is not only a political and economic issue; it has cultural aspects too; it also has epistemological implications.
Filipe Gonçalves: One of the most severe impact globalization are the increasing inequalities.
Tobias Link: To deal with the problems of the world, “strong governance” is not enough; it is also a matter of values, as well as of the citizens’ empowerment.
Pedro Lago: There is not just one globalization, but many of them; and many points of view on all of them.
Helena Mateus: One of the main impacts of globalization is that it favours corruption. A serious problem is: how to assess positive and negative impacts?
Cheila Cardoso: It would be worth trying to analyse the relationship between globalization and the current economic crisis. Points of view on globalization may vary a lot, notably between different generations.
Clémentine Ronseaux: The idea of a global government is not new and did not yield significant results. It would be worth better to take into consideration local initiatives.
Amílcar José Morais: Concerned with the impact on the deaf community. Some examples: the development of communication technologies had a mainly positive impact; attempts to question the relevance of sign languages had a negative impact; medical progress raises serious bio-ethical issues.
A brief discussion compared the value of stressing the differences between economic and political systems and processes and the holistic view of both being part of the some oppressive system and process. To support the first epistemic option one can show its relevance to understand the present crises: the 2007 crises were financial and the 2010 public debt crises were political. To support the second option one can say that the oppressive systems denounced by social movements are political-economical-financial global alliances that benefit 1% and not the 99%, including the people out of Europe and USA.
The class ended by exemplifying the choices of themes and groups by the students.
Fall semester 2012
attach: Social Dinamics
Class of Setember 26th 2012
(lecture by APD)resume program and evaluation .
Brief presentation of a sociological critic of violence and of its limits. These two are reveling features of the social conditions of development of social theory in our times.
attach: Sociology of violence;
Class of Setember 19th 2012
(jointly lectured by APD/PG) Presentation of the dedicated site of the class. Presentation of the NING site of the global class. Presentation of an overview of the work semester and its goals. Presentation of two working fields to address (CAIS association and Fábrica Braço de Prata cultural centre and museum). Each student present was invited to chose do connect one of these two working fields and the arrangements for first contacts as been made.
Guidelines to the students with a view to their individual work (one “post” a week per student, every week; 9 “posts” over the semester; in English and in Portuguese), and to the team work (service project). Introduction to the teaching program: social justice (4 classes delivered by PG); human rights (4 classes delivered by APD); globalization (2 classes delivered in common, APD/PG).
Spring semester 2012
Human Rights at different social levels - Class Prezi presentation (APD)
Class of May 17th 2012
(lectured by APD)
Law and Social Theory
The law operates at an abstract level of social reality. It works at normative dimension. It reflects the proactive desire and imagination, both physical and virtual. The practical constraints never let one deliver what one imagine to be our plain satisfaction and ideal utopia. Frustration cannot be avoid. Prudence as social experience - developed by dominant or marginal people - equally shows that changes do not depend on someone will. Even when one claim his/her action to be the main cause of a due course of action.
To say that the Republic overthrown the Ancient Regime, meaning that the bourgeoisie substitute the aristocracy and the head of society and State, hide the mutual interest alliance between the people who experience these two kinds of life experience in order to dominate the rest of us. Practical choice that let the aristocracy in charge of ruling the judicial pillar of modern States. The hidden perspective, once showed, can be useful to think the contemporary decadence of the judicial power in Western countries. It is a new aspect of class struggle, different from employees and employers, workers and bosses.
Human Rights are for these struggle a motive and an instrument. For instance, when the courts used the globalization process to expand their power, till Pinochet was putted in jail. These globalization perspective of judicial systems development did come back and the human wrigth respect as well.
Frankfurt Social Sciences School´s Honneth focus on respect and dignity as the new Social Science concern centre of interest of this school, in order to back up old public space communication strategy.
Class of April 26th 2012
(lectured by APD)
Globalization and Human Rights
The history of Human Rights is told as part of modern history, from the French Revolution till the 20th century Universal Declaration at UN, from colonialism times till the times of threatening of Human Rights principles by the Western countries that usually were the champions of Human Rights.
The history of Human Rights is also the history of clarification of applying proposes to everybody, and not only to the people that deserve it. That is why it was felt as needed to complete the Universal Declaration with specific documents concerning women and children rights, migrant workers and their families, indigenous people and other kinds of stigmatized people.
The ideal of society become more sensitive to equity through recognition of Human Rights reveal itself as a long term struggle for justice, for social justice, in a special and more abstract way. One should consider the way it can be effective.
Class of April 19th 2012
(lectured by APD)
Human Rights in different social levels
In order to understand different ways of understanding human rights one can choose to look at human rights from 3 different social levels. Bottom level, linking with the biological levels of existence, the level in between – in fact several social levels related to constructed institutions and communities merging each other – and the upper level, related to collective values and intelligence.
The 3 lessons about Human Rights will organize a discussion about each one of these three different kinds of social levels. Human Rights and Social Justice at the bottom, Human Rights and Globalization at the level in between and Law and Human Rights at the upper level.
Social Justice refers to a state of affairs, a feeling, a territory and its people, to the efficacy of a specific social contract, development model and institutional structure to develop happiness to the people.
Human Rights refers to the expectations of one day Humanity can be fulfilled by the natural concern of every good faith person: each person would have access to the critical resources to satisfy the basic needs of a modern person.
Class of March 15th 2012
(lectured by PG)
Developments of the
definition discussed last week. II - Empirical implementation: the
definition offers guidelines for the field work. One can (a) the
interested people; (b) actors defending them, or defending other
positions in the debates on issues of justice. (c) Head or staff of
agencies in charge of measures aiming at protecting the rights of the
interested people. These different categories of people can be
questioned on their conceptions of social justice, in positive terms, or
else, in negative terms, on their experiences of negations of social
justice. This can be done according to the following grid: relevant
social grouping; product of the activity of this grouping, to be
distributed; vulnerable social categories, possibility of political
procedures leading to decisions on questions of distribution. These
items can be observed in their positive version, or in the negative
version of experiences of injustice. Main research question: are
the representations observed likely to be qualified as expectations of
social justice in the precise sense of the phrase, or do other notions
of justice prevail? How could those other notions be named? -
These conceptions are not stable, they evolve in time, in particular
under the impact of public debates where meet each other. For this
reason, special attention should be placed on the words used, also in
different languages. III - Social Justice and globalization.
preliminary section: social justice and internationalization. The notion
of social justice develops out of international comparison: comparison
between nations, between their productivity, between their social
structure, between their political structure. This kind of comparison
has been institutionalized by the
Labour Organization. Currently
the ILO focused part of its activities - se its
missions - on globalization and
its relationship to social justice. On this point see the ILO
Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.
Developments of the definition discussed last week. II - Empirical implementation: the definition offers guidelines for the field work. One can (a) the interested people; (b) actors defending them, or defending other positions in the debates on issues of justice. (c) Head or staff of agencies in charge of measures aiming at protecting the rights of the interested people. These different categories of people can be questioned on their conceptions of social justice, in positive terms, or else, in negative terms, on their experiences of negations of social justice. This can be done according to the following grid: relevant social grouping; product of the activity of this grouping, to be distributed; vulnerable social categories, possibility of political procedures leading to decisions on questions of distribution. These items can be observed in their positive version, or in the negative version of experiences of injustice. Main research question: are the representations observed likely to be qualified as expectations of social justice in the precise sense of the phrase, or do other notions of justice prevail? How could those other notions be named? - These conceptions are not stable, they evolve in time, in particular under the impact of public debates where meet each other. For this reason, special attention should be placed on the words used, also in different languages. III - Social Justice and globalization. preliminary section: social justice and internationalization. The notion of social justice develops out of international comparison: comparison between nations, between their productivity, between their social structure, between their political structure. This kind of comparison has been institutionalized by the International Labour Organization. Currently the ILO focused part of its activities - se its missions - on globalization and its relationship to social justice. On this point see the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.
Class of March 8th 2012
(lectured by PG)
Social Justice: I - Definition of the concept: A - The concept of
justice in general: a modest concept will be used, based on the negation
of justice. What is unjust is what hurts our expectations toward our
group. This definition leads us to admit a plurality of notions of
justice, according to the type of group.
What has been called universal justice meets the feeling of injustice of
people victim of a prohibited behaviour, within a community where
someone - a chief, a king - has the means to punish the person who had
this behaviour. Commutative and distributive justice are likely to be
distinguished in a social world where a public sphere - where exchanges
of equal items take place - is differentiated from the private sphere -
where everyone receives what he deserves according to his needs or
position (see a short
of the lecturer
on this topic). B - The concept of "Social Justice": the call for social
justice appears during the 19th century and corresponds to a specific
kind of human grouping: modern national societies. Features of such
clear differentiation thanks to the criteria of nationality; produces
collectively more than solely what is required for survival; divided in
different social categories, created by the process of production,
categories having unequal access to the products; societies supposed to
govern themselves by democratic institutions .
"Social Justice" claimed for in such societies is "social" according to
these different meanings: (1) it refers to a "national society"; (2)
aims at a distribution of the product of this society's production; (3)
concerns social categories; (4) should be the result of decisions of the
society itself, taken within the framework of political procedures. - II
- Some implications of this concept: A - General assessment: does
not necessarily lead to collectivism, contrarily to the argument of some
critics of this notion, but to processes of confrontation of rights, of
seeking technical - legal, organizational, economic - arrangements
recognizing e reconciling these conflicting rights. Such processes led
to the development of modern systems of social protection. B -
Unavoidable Ambivalence: (a) the development of an organizational device
and of the corresponding financial flows give rise to an administrative
entities which evolution and impact on the society might prove difficult
to control. (b) The codification of interests in the format of
"rights" has a significant impact on the perceptions people have of
their social situation. C - Implications for the field research on
concrete domains: one should survey (a) the perceptions the interested
people have of their situations and rights; (b) the practice of entities
in charge with measures warranting these rights; (c) the strategies of
groups that may have been created in order to defend the rights of these
Social Justice: I - Definition of the concept: A - The concept of justice in general: a modest concept will be used, based on the negation of justice. What is unjust is what hurts our expectations toward our group. This definition leads us to admit a plurality of notions of justice, according to the type of group.
What has been called universal justice meets the feeling of injustice of people victim of a prohibited behaviour, within a community where someone - a chief, a king - has the means to punish the person who had this behaviour. Commutative and distributive justice are likely to be distinguished in a social world where a public sphere - where exchanges of equal items take place - is differentiated from the private sphere - where everyone receives what he deserves according to his needs or position (see a short paper of the lecturer on this topic). B - The concept of "Social Justice": the call for social justice appears during the 19th century and corresponds to a specific kind of human grouping: modern national societies. Features of such groupings:
clear differentiation thanks to the criteria of nationality; produces collectively more than solely what is required for survival; divided in different social categories, created by the process of production, categories having unequal access to the products; societies supposed to govern themselves by democratic institutions
. "Social Justice" claimed for in such societies is "social" according to these different meanings: (1) it refers to a "national society"; (2) aims at a distribution of the product of this society's production; (3) concerns social categories; (4) should be the result of decisions of the society itself, taken within the framework of political procedures. - II - Some implications of this concept: A - General assessment: does not necessarily lead to collectivism, contrarily to the argument of some critics of this notion, but to processes of confrontation of rights, of seeking technical - legal, organizational, economic - arrangements recognizing e reconciling these conflicting rights. Such processes led to the development of modern systems of social protection. B - Unavoidable Ambivalence: (a) the development of an organizational device and of the corresponding financial flows give rise to an administrative entities which evolution and impact on the society might prove difficult to control. (b) The codification of interests in the format of "rights" has a significant impact on the perceptions people have of their social situation. C - Implications for the field research on concrete domains: one should survey (a) the perceptions the interested people have of their situations and rights; (b) the practice of entities in charge with measures warranting these rights; (c) the strategies of groups that may have been created in order to defend the rights of these people.
Class of February 16th 2012
(jointly lectured by APD/PG) Survey of the blogs created by the students, and of their prospects in terms of final assignment. Guidelines to the students with a view to their individual work (one “post” a week per student, every week; 14 “posts” over the semester; in principle in English and Portuguese), and to the team work (service project, possibly connected to initiatives of existing actors or social movements). Introduction to the teaching program: social justice (3 classes delivered by PG); human rights (3 classes delivered by APD); globalization (2 classes delivered in common, APD/PG).