Globalization and Human Rights Book Series

Cambridge University Press - General Editors: Malcolm Langford and Cesar Rodriguez Garavito

The first book in the series on globalization and human rights. Photo: Cambridge University Press.

The series provides unique and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the interface of the global economy and human rights. It offers space for exploring the challenges of globalization, the role of human rights in framing and shaping regulation and politics and, more critically whether human rights are a mere product or legitimation of globalization.

For more information about the books in the series, go to Cambridge University Press.


Globalization has entrenched itself as a permanent feature of late modernity. A multivalent and contested concept, globalization can be understood as an historical epoch, an economic phenomenon, a sociological and technological revolution or the triumph of Western values. Its most visible manifestation are 80,000+ transnational corporations that wield considerable economic and political power within a reordered international legal architecture. However, globalization is much as an idea as a practice with its normative and political implications for moral theory, public policy and supranational law.

Contemporaneously, human rights has emerged as a dominant international discourse, a global lingua franca, or even a ‘world-wide secular religion’ - together a dense set of international rules and institutions. This exponential rise of ‘human rights’ has spurred a surfeit of research across multiple disciplines, particularly philosophy, law, history and the full array of the social sciences. Human rights are treated both as a subject and object of study and approached from normative and empirical perspectives.

The second book in the series on globalization and human rights. Photo: Cambridge University Press

The relationship between human rights and globalization can be conceived in multiple ways. First, human rights may be challenged by globalization. The emergence of world markets, multinational corporations, electronic surveillance, etc. often raises concerns for an array of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

Second, human rights may be used as a basis for framing alternative forms or regulation of globalization.  Proposals to regulate multinationals, shape development agendas, control technology or permit migration are frequently and explicitly predicated on human rights laws, values or discourse. However, the increasingly polycentric nature of global regulation raises multiple challenges for the traditional state-centric conceptions of rights. Finally, human rights are viewed critically as a product or legitimation of globalization. Human rights represent the unwitting handmaiden for the project of globalisation –strengthening and legitimating a neoliberal and largely Western project. The individualism and neutrality of human rights fit seamlessly into the global vision of autonomous consuming individuals. 

Objectives of the series:

  • Encourage methodologically driven and critical reflection of theinterrelation between globalization and human rights.
  • Produce work that engages with the continuing evolution of globalizationwhile also reflecting on its earlier manifestations.
  • Engages in a global conversation and provides space for different normative and empirical perspectives and balances Global North and South voices
  • Produce much-needed materials for training programs for human rights graduate students, practitioners and policy makers at national and global scales
  • Offer a space for reflexivity at a time of turmoil in the field


The series would have three principal criteria for selection. A submission should be:

  • Relevant to the theme of Globalization and Human Rights
  • Innovative in asking new questions or using new Methods
  • Globally of interest and not simply relevant to one country or jurisdiction

We would welcome submissions from a broad range of disciplines. This would include political theory, law, economics/development, politicascience, international relations, sociology, anthropology, psychology, media studies, and history. Works can be located within a single discipline and they will be judged on whether they conform scientifically to the nominated discipline or disciplines. However, all works should have some relevance beyond a single discipline.​

Published Oct. 2, 2017 11:01 AM - Last modified Nov. 10, 2017 4:10 PM