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Title: Loyalty and solidarity : human rights and social change in divided societies
Author: Lamb, Michele
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 5964
Awarding Body: The University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2009
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The potential of human rights to herald a new dawn of cosmopolitan solidarity has been a defining feature of the twenty-first century. However the limitations of this project are increasingly clear as the requirements of recognition and identity politics, embodied in ever more divided communities are a major and increasingly salient feature of the world picture. This thesis explores the relationship between normative cultural and social frameworks and changes in social action by examining the impact of human rights principles, practices and legislation in post-Good Friday Agreeme:nt Northern Ireland. This is approached through in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations with community activists and human rights advocates between 1998 and 2008. The thesis argues that loyalty to community is a prime motivator for social action in Northern Ireland and demonstrates both the challenge and opportunity that loyalty poses for human rights advocacy in post-conflict societies. It also demonstrates the way in which human rights advocacy in Northern Ireland seeks to address both the promotion and protection of human rights as social justice, and as a means to foster reconciliation between the 'two communities' through the development of new forms of human rights-based solidarity that can transcend the competition and conflict that is a feature of their relationships. It argues that human rights practices are aimed at generoating new forms of social action in two ways; firstly through fostering interaction between the two communities, and secondly through fostering cooperation with the 'other community'. As community activists take part in human rights-based activities that are both participative and performative towards the realisation of social and economic rights, they generate new relationships of social solidarity that can transcend associations grounded in membership of the immediate cultural 'community of loyalty'. The thesis then demonstrates how different forms of participation promote qualitatively distinct types of solidarity. 'Thick solidarity' arises through emphasising forms of performative participation that promote ownership and empowerment through which the competitiveness that can arise from strong equality claims between communities can be diffused. 'Thin solidarity' arises from a focus on values such as toleration and respect for difference through inclusive participatory practices by which diverse actors, even those holding views antithetical to human rights as broadly conceived, are embraced. The thesis argues that these two features provide a foundation for new forms of social action in societies divided by violent conflict.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available