Critical Criminology as a Guardian of Human Rights: An Action-Based Model

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Too often, human rights are treated as an unconditional good and thus beyond politics. Yet human rights have always existed within an identified political context. Today, this context is neoliberalism. However, while criminologists often allude to various shortcomings of international human rights and humanitarian law, little consideration has been given to the neoliberal undercurrents of contemporary human rights discourse and practice. This article argues that neoliberalism and the human rights movement exist in a symbiotic, co-constitutive relationship. Against the neoliberal hold on human rights, the article points to an alternative political foundation, Action-Based Human Rights. The action-based model aims to be a platform for resistance and to root human rights in action and opportunities for agency and self-representation. The article suggests a preliminary path to how criminologists can begin to advance this alternative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-168
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Criminology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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