• José Julián López


López argues that the human rights worldview is so pervasive that when claims are made in the name of human rights, they frequently trigger something akin to an involuntary moral reflex. Confronted with evidence of violence and inequality, individuals feel compelled to act. The strength of sociological analysis is that it has the capacity to interrogate the unquestioned assumptions, even deeply held normative ones, that drive how we act in the world. Sociological research, argues López, encourages us to understand anew, what one already understands. The chapter briefly identifies some of the shortcomings of the “thin” manner in which human rights are currently understood, namely as an idea, principle, or ideal, and invites the reader to understand human rights anew as a political imaginary.


  1. Fassin, Didier. 2012. Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. López, José Julián. 2003. Society and Its Metaphors: Language, Social Theory and Social Structure. London: Continuum Books.Google Scholar
  3. Woodiwiss, Anthony. 2001. The Visual in Social Theory. London: The Athlone Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Julián López
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada

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