New Book: The Future of Human Rights

By Alison Brysk

Human rights have fallen on hard times yet they are more necessary than ever. People all over the world – from Amazonian villages to Iranian prisons – need human rights to gain recognition, campaign for justice, and save lives. But how can we secure a brighter future for human rights? What changes are required to confront the regime’s weaknesses and emerging global challenges?

In this cutting-edge analysis, Alison Brysk sets out a pragmatic reformist agenda for human rights in the 21st century. Tracing problems and solutions through contemporary case studies – such as the plight of refugees, declining democracies like Mexico and Turkey, the expansion of women’s rights, new norms for indigenous peoples and rights regression in the U.S. – she shows that the dynamic strength of human rights lies in their evolving political practice. This distinctive vision demands that we build upon the gains of the human rights regime to construct new pathways which address historic rights’ gaps from citizenship to security, environmental protection to resurgent nationalism, and globalization itself.

Drawing on the author’s extensive experience as a leading human rights scholar and activist, The Future of Human Rights offers a broad and authoritative guide to the big questions in global human rights governance today.

The book is now available from Polity:

Table of Contents


  • Chapter 1: Now More Than Ever
  • Chapter 2: Unfinished Business: Mind the Gaps
  • Chapter 3: Expanding Rights: Bridges and Paths
  • Chapter 4: Contracting Rights: Regression and Resistance
  • Chapter 5: Reconstructing Rights in a Post-Liberal World

Alison Brysk is the Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Professor in Global Studies and Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Page Editor

Graduate Student Researcher at the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies
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