• José Julián López


López draws attention to the submerged and unproductive commonalities that link contemporary approaches to human rights, namely, a thin sociological conception of human rights, law naïveté, and an insufficiently critical acceptance of human rights’ normative claims. He summarizes how these unproductive tendencies can be overcome via a conception of human rights as a political imaginary. Developing the idea of social-structural cosmopolitanism, which López attributes to Anthony Woodiwiss, and the key insights generated by each of the chapters, he suggests how the human rights political imaginary might be bent to constrain the exercise and abuse of social power. Nonetheless, he concludes that, on their own, human rights are not likely to break through the glass ceiling of the prevailing social relations of power.


  1. Alexander, Jeffrey C., and Pjillip Smith. 2003. “The Strong Program in Cultural Sociology: Elements of a Structural Hermeneutics.” In The Meanings of Social Life: A Cultural Sociology, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, 11–26. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, Wendy. 2004. “‘The Most We Can Hope For...’: Human Rights and the Politics of Fatalism.” The South Atlantic Quarterly 103 (2):451–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Delanty, Gerard. 2006. “The Cosmopolitan Imagination: Critical Cosmopolitanism and Social Theory.” The British Journal of Sociology 57 (1):25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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