The Pluriverse of Human Rights: The Diversity of Struggles for Dignity
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Bruno Sena Martins
New York and London: Routledge

The impasse currently affecting human rights as a language used to express struggles for dignity is, to a large extent, a reflection of the epistemological and political exhaustion which blights the global North. Since the global hegemony of human rights as a language for human dignity is nowadays incontrovertible, the question of whether it can be used in a counter-hegemonic sense remains open. Inspired by struggles from all corners of the world that reveal the potential but, above all, the limitations of human rights, this book offers a highly conditional response. The prevailing notion of human rights today, as the hegemonic language of human dignity, can only be resignified on the basis of answers to simple questions: why does so much unjust human suffering exist that is not considered a violation of human rights? Do other languages of human dignity exist in the world? Are these other languages compatible with the language of human rights? Obviously, we can only find satisfactory answers to these questions if we are able to envisage a radical transformation of what is nowadays known as human rights. Herein lies the challenge posed by the Epistemologies of the South: reconciling human rights with the different languages and forms of knowledge born out of struggles for human dignity.

Eds.: Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Bruno Sena Martins

Series Epistemologies of the South 

More information availabe HERE



Table of Contents


Part 1. Human frontiers

  1. Human Rights, democracy and development - Boaventura de Sousa Santos
  2. A Being that was not made to suffer: on the difference of the human and the differences between humans - João Arriscado Nunes
  3. On the coloniality of human rights - Nelson Maldonado Torres 

Part 2. Struggles and emergences

  1. Revisiting the Bhopal disaster: times of violence and latitudes of memory - Bruno Sena Martins
  2. Pluralism and the post-minority condition: reflections on the ‘Pasmanda Muslim’ discourse in North India - Khalid Anis Ansari
  3. Picturing Law, Reform and Sexual Violence: Notes on the Delhi Protests of 2012-2013 - Pratiksha Baxi
  4. Women and Mass Violence in Mozambique during the Late Colonial Period - Maria Paula Meneses
  5. Women's Human Rights, Legal Mobilization and Epistemologies of the South - Cecília MacDowell Santos
  6. The power of racism in academia: knowledge production and political disputes - Marta Araújo and Silvia R. Maeso
  7. The Roma collective memory and the epistemological limits of Western historiography - Cayetano Fernández
  8. Rights, confinement, and liberation: rearguard theory and freedom of movement - Julia Suárez-Krabbe
  9. The Mediterranean as the EU human rights boundary - Angeles Castaño Madroñal

Conclusion - Boaventura de Sousa Santos and Bruno Sena Martins