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Human Rights in Our Own Backyard
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Human Rights in Our Own Backyard
Injustice and Resistance in the United States

Edited by William T. Armaline, Davita Silfen Glasberg, and Bandana Purkayastha

344 pages | 6 x 9
Paper 2013 | ISBN 9780812222579 | $32.50s | Outside the Americas £24.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
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Awarded the 2013 Hirabayashi Book Award by the Human Rights Section of the American Sociological Association

"This work is a valuable addition to the literature on the human rights studies in international relations and will therefore be of great interest to those who are involved in this area. Overall, the book can be considered a useful source for international relations students and researchers, and it may also be of interest to scholars, policy-makers and strategists in the United States."—Journal of Human Development and Capabilities

"The variety of authors—academics, community organizers, graduate students, human rights advocates—makes for interesting and at times quite compelling reading, and the immediacy of many of the topics (unemployment, food security, housing foreclosures) makes for timely, important contemporary reading."—Choice

"The editors and authors of Human Rights in Our Own Backyard propose to advance our deep understanding of human rights. Even better—they also advance the sort of understanding that will encourage their readers to take action—to lobby, organize, and redirect the path of our communities and the nation. . . . A stunning achievement."—from the Foreword, by Judith Blau

"An accessible and highly readable collection that pulls together a wide range of information and analyzes it through the lens of sociology. The book makes a significant contribution to emerging literature that applies human rights principles to U.S. policy and practice."—Martha F. Davis, Northeastern University

Most Americans assume that the United States provides a gold standard for human rights—a 2007 survey found that 80 percent of U.S. adults believed that "the U.S. does a better job than most countries when it comes to protecting human rights." As well, discussions among scholars and public officials in the United States frame human rights issues as concerning people, policies, or practices "over there." By contrast, the contributors to this volume argue that many of the greatest immediate and structural threats to human rights, and some of the most significant efforts to realize human rights in practice, can be found in our own backyard.

Human Rights in Our Own Backyard examines the state of human rights and responses to human rights issues, drawing on sociological literature and perspectives to interrogate assumptions of American exceptionalism. How do people in the U.S. address human rights issues? What strategies have they adopted, and how successful have these strategies been? Essays are organized around key conventions of human rights, focusing on the relationships between human rights and justice, the state and the individual, civil rights and human rights, and group rights versus individual rights. The contributors are united by a common conception of the human rights enterprise as a process involving not only state-defined and implemented rights but also human rights from below as promoted by activists.

William T. Armaline is a faculty member of the Department of Justice Studies at San Jose State University.

Davita Silfen Glasberg is Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Social Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut.

Bandana Purkayastha is Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut.

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