Wednesday 2nd December will see Dr Robin Redhead give the next seminar in the Global Inequalities Seminar Series at Leeds Beckett University. The paper she will present extends her existing research on the practicalities of human rights and will report on the initial findings from work supported by Leeds Beckett University’s Early Career Researcher Scheme.
Dr Redhead said:
“This working paper summarises my initial findings of a study into the politics of human rights practice looking specifically at how legal practitioners shape the human rights field. Through a series of interviews with lawyers, I have mapped the ‘work’ that takes place within the field of human rights and analysed how this ‘work’ shapes what Nash (2009) refers to as the cultural politics of human rights. Within the national and international arenas, human rights practices are cultural capital that practitioners trade for political gains. In order to assure the future of the human rights movement we need to understand how people become involved and what motivation keeps them there. As such I have asked interviewees to comment on how they see the field of human rights, how their ‘work’ fits within the field and their own career trajectories.
The study is an investigation into the field of human rights as a social field in the UK. Using field theory, I show how through the conscious and unconscious aspects of their practice, practitioners exercise considerable agency in adapting human rights discourse to their own concerns while also being critical of it. The professionalization of ‘work’ undertaken in the human rights field and the discomfort expressed by some practitioners about having made a career from their human rights activism, because the goal was to put themselves out of work, raises ethical and moral implications for practitioners whose original passions and motivations may get lost within the contours of building a viable career.”
Robin’s research interests centre around practices of human rights. She has explored Amnesty International’s ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ Campaign and looked at how indigenous peoples in Canada use human rights legislation to conduct land claim disputes. Particularly, Robin looks at questions of empowerment and how mobilizing human rights does or does not empower those at risk. She approaches her research from a socio-polical rather than legal base. Her current work is on human rights practitioners and the ‘business’ of human rights work.
Robin’s recent book Exercising Human Rights: Gender, Agency and Practice was published by Routledge this year.
- Wednesday, 2 December 2015 from 15:00 to 16:30 (GMT)
- Calverley Building (Room 311) – Leeds Beckett University. Portland Way. Leeds LS1 3HE GB – View Map