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Researching and studying human rights: interdisciplinary insight

Citation: Short, Damien (2015) Researching and studying human rights: interdisciplinary insight. In: Contemporary Challenges in Securing Human Rights. Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, pp. 7-12. ISBN 978-0-9931102-2-1


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

Since 1948, the study of human rights has been dominated by legal scholarship that has sought to investigate the development of human rights law, emerging jurisprudence, regional systems, the decisions and recommendations of human rights mechanisms and institutions and to a lesser extent the ‘compliance gaps’ between state commitments and actions. Even so, in all of these spheres there are elements that cannot be fully understood through a purely legal lens, moreover, if we understand ‘human rights’ more broadly, and look into the practical world of human rights work and human rights discourse, advocacy and activism, then we need to go beyond legal analysis. Indeed, to understand the world of human rights in both theory and practice requires interdisciplinary insight, as it covers an enormous range of social, political, economic and environmental issues. In this chapter, I will outline the contributions of two disciplines that were slow to contribute to the field of human rights but which offer vitally important insights that can guide both academic research and human rights advocacy.

Additional Information: To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights offered at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, we are pleased to publish a commemorative edited volume on human rights themes authored by distinguished alumni and faculty.
Creators: Short, Damien (0000-0001-5897-2732) and
Official URL:
Subjects: Human Rights & Development Studies
Keywords: human rights, refugee protection, women’s human rights, tax justice, business and human rights, poetry, rights in the digital age
Divisions: Human Rights Consortium
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Collections: Contemporary Challenges in Securing Human Rights
  • 6 November 2015 (published)
  • 1 November 2015 (accepted)


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