International concern or domestic empowerment? Rethinking the political conception of human rights

with Johan Karlsson Schaffer

Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice has the honour of welcoming you to a lecture by

Johan Karlsson Schaffer

on the topic of

International concern or domestic empowerment? Rethinking the political conception of human rights

How do international human rights norms shape actions and outcomes in global politics, and whom do they empower and authorize to act? In this talk, I shall offer an alternative to prominent so-called political conceptions in the philosophy of human rights that chiefly see international human rights norms as matters of international concern, standards for international conduct or reasons for interference by outside agents. Drawing on social science research on international human rights regimes, I shall offer an alternative view on which human rights are chiefly enacted through political action in the domestic sphere, rather than in international society, by providing relatively weak groups with a useful power resource. This domestic politics view allows us to reconstruct the practice of international human rights in a way that can make better sense, compared to the dominant political conceptions, of salient features of that practice, such as the importance of legalization, the idea of equal status that animates many human rights, and the constructive role international human rights play in societies where the rule of law and democracy are generally respected.

From 1 August 2016: Johan Karlsson Schaffer is an associate professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg and a senior researcher at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo. His main research interests are in the areas of political and international theory, especially human rights and democratic theory. Recent publications include articles in Reviepressfoto20140912w of International Studies, Political Studies, International Theory, Transnational Legal Theory and Human Rights Review, as well as the volume The legitimacy of international human rights regimes: Legal, political and philosophical perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Registration (voluntary):, by 5 of December