Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Universal Human Rights in a World of Difference

  • Date Published: June 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521881265


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

Please email to enquire about an inspection copy of this book

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • From the diverse work and often competing insights of women's human rights activists, Brooke Ackerly has written a feminist and a universal theory of human rights that bridges the relativists' concerns about universalizing from particulars and the activists' commitment to justice. Unlike universal theories that rely on shared commitments to divine authority or to an 'enlightened' way of reasoning, Ackerly's theory relies on rigorous methodological attention to difference and disagreement. She sets out human rights as at once a research ethic, a tool for criticism of injustice and a call to recognize our obligations to promote justice through our actions. This book will be of great interest to political theorists, feminist and gender studies scholars and researchers of social movements.

    • A valuable contribution to the study of human rights arguing in favour of a very wide definition
    • Engages with key political theorists of the field, but focuses on the activities and views of people who fight for human rights on the ground
    • Links human rights to real world issues and activists
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'As an activist I find Ackerly's theorizing of human rights in action so insightful. She gives a name to our approach - curb-cut feminism: by being humble and attentive to those made invisible or 'different' by the mainstream we are better able to realize universal human rights. This book is a very useful map for anyone committed to justice in an often messy terrain.' Joanna Kerr, former Executive Director of AWID, the Association for Women's Rights in Development

    'A stunning achievement. Ackerly takes up the daunting - some would say insuperable - challenge of developing a universal theory of human rights that does not entail cultural imperialism. With the concerns of activists and politics of difference as her starting points, she thinks outside of the box that has limited our understanding of, and ability to realize, universal human rights. This extremely thoughtful and closely argued text will stimulate debate and, I hope, revitalize activism.' V. Spike Peterson, Department of Political Science, University of Arizona

    '[Universal] Human Rights in a World of Difference is a highly valuable, provocative work that contributes a new way of thinking and talking about universal human rights. … This work should be widely read and discussed by scholars in the fields of human rights and feminist international relations.' Politics and Gender

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521881265
    • length: 388 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 157 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.75kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Universal human rights in a world of difference: challenging our thinking
    Part I. Epistemology, Diversity, and Disagreement in Theory and Practice:
    2. Universal human rights?
    3. Universalisms and differences
    4. Immanent and universal human rights: more legitimate than reasonable
    Part II. A Methodology for Immanent Theory:
    5. Feminist curb cutting: a methodology for exposing silences and revealing differences: immanent study of universal human rights
    6. Listening to the silent voices, hearing dissonance: a methodology for interpretation and analysis
    Part III. Immanent Universal Human Rights: Theory and Practice:
    7. An immanent and universal theory of human rights: curb cutting in theory
    8. Terrain(s) of difficulty: obligation, problem-solving and trust
    9. Feminist strategies
    10. 'If I can make a circle'.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Foundations of Human Rights
    • Human Rights in Global Perspective
    • Implications of Social Justice and Human Rights for Social Work
  • Author

    Brooke A. Ackerly, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
    Brooke A. Ackerly is Associate Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Political Theory and Feminist Social Criticism (Cambridge, 2000) and co-editor of Feminist Methodologies for International Relations (Cambridge, 2006).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.