SOC10100 Sociology of Human Rights

Academic Year 2020/2021

The course offers an overview of sociological approaches to human rights as a set of social practices and ideologies in current societies and on the international arena. It gives a taste of theoretical and methodological questions in the Sociology of Human Rights as a sub-discipline, as well as discusses the most urgent issues in this research field of sociology. The broader themes within the course are those of inequality and justice, citizenship and the state, identity and social movements. These themes are scrutinized in connection to human rights and through the Sociology of Human Rights lens.

Drawing on classical approaches in sociology, the course offers to answer the question of what human rights are, sociologically speaking. In law and politics, human rights are regarded as a rigid doctrine, whereas the sociology looks at human rights as a matter of changing practices under power relations. The ability to look at human rights as actually occurring practices helps to understand their benefits and limitations.

During the course, students will see how the definition of human rights changed over time, what actors contributed to the various definitions of human rights, what conditions led to formation of human rights in specific forms.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon the completion of this module, the students will be able to critically engage in discussions of human rights and apply methodological skills to review human rights sociologically. They will acquire knowledge about main concepts in the sociology of human rights and about major debates in the field. In practical terms, students will be equipped to rethink rigid notions and approaches to human rights, as well as they will have tools to offer fresh solutions to existing issues.

Indicative Module Content:

Human rights thought; human rights law; human rights institutions; sociological approaches to human rights; human rights movements; citizenship theories; critical debates in human rights theory; ethical issues of human rights studies.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The course is delivered in 2 lectures a week. Students will be asked to express their opinion in writing and read some of the recommended literature. Class participation is appreciated. Critical thinking, reading and writing are foundational for the course. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Journal: Provide a short summary of a selection of three texts assigned for any of the classes.
Maximum 1 page.
Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire (Short): Complete a short quiz on human rights international documents, institutions, and organisations. Week 8 n/a Graded No


Essay: Write a human rights manifesto as the final essay for the module.
Maximum 2 pages.
Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Assignment: Write a 1-paragraph opinion paper about the most important human right, according to you.
Maximum words: 500.
Week 4 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback is offered in the forms of short comments, grades, and automatically calculated evaluation depending on the character of an assessment component.