Social Dimensions of Human Rights

The details
Human Rights Centre
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
19 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V1L2 History with Human Rights,
BA V1L8 History with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1LF History with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA V1LG History with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA T7M8 Latin American studies with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA T7M9 Latin American Studies with Human Rights,
BA V5M8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V5M9 Philosophy with Human Rights,
BA V5MX Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA V6M9 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA VLM8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA L219 Politics with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L2M9 Politics with Human Rights,
BA LFM9 Politics with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA L3J9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L3M9 Sociology with Human Rights,
BA LMJ9 Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MM20 Law with Human Rights,
LLB MM21 Law with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MM22 Law with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA P570 Journalism with Human Rights,
BA P571 Journalism with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA P572 Journalism with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA LL37 Social Anthropology with Human Rights,
BA LL38 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL39 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L914 Global Studies with Human Rights,
BA L916 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA L917 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
BA L918 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA L400 Social Change,
BA L401 Social Change (including Foundation Year,
BA L402 Social Change (including Placement Year),
BA L403 Social Change (including Year Abroad)

Module description

This 10 week module is an introduction to Sociology and Human Rights. It does not assume any prior understanding of sociology.

Section 1 - Sociological theory and humn rights
We begin with an introductory lecture which looks at what classical sociological thinking might have to offer an understanding of human rights, and also consider some criticisms. We then move on in the second week to consider two competing contemporary attempts to formulate a sociology of rights, and in the third week to consider the problem of universalism versus relativism - that is, what does sociology have to say about different cultural values and perspectives in relation to universal rights? This section then ends with a look at the concept of cosmopolitanism, which challenges conceptions of society as bounded by the nation state and leads on to section 2.

Section 2 - Rights across borders
This second section of the module considers a more substantive question which can help to illuminate a sociological approach to rights, and that is the question of rights across borders. We begin with the position of trans-national migrants as compared with the citizens of host countries. Citizenship is the status that grants full membership of society and full rights, so an interesting question is how far universal human rights can over-come state sovereignty in the granting of rights to non-citizens. We consider this question in relation to the graduated system of rights which characterise most immigration regime, 'civic stratification', and look at specific examples related to gender and immigration, and to asylum seekers. Then we consider the other side of rights across borders by asking what rich countries owe to poor ones, and consider the implications of this material for debates about cosmopolitanism.

Conclusion - Researching meaning and agency
In the final week we will look at more practical questions of how to research human rights in a sociological manner, especially focussing on qualitative approaches to questions of meaning and agency. We take examples from a variety of scholars researching a range of different HRs issues.

Module aims

No information available.

Module learning outcomes

A good understanding of the nature of a sociological approach to human rights
Some sense of what the concept of social construction means in relation to rights
A grasp of what relativism means in relation to rights
An understanding of the concept of civic stratification in relation to rights
An ability to apply it to the example of a) gender and migration, and b) asylum and welfare
An understanding of what is at issue in addressing global inequality
A grasp of some basic issues in relation to methods for researching meaning and agency in relation to human rights

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This module is taught through a mixture of pre-recorded lectures and 10 weekly 50-minute small group tutorials. Each week before your tutorials, the module teaching team will make available on Moodle two or more pre-recorded video lectures that they have prepared and produced. In total, the duration of each week’s video lectures will be approximately 50 minutes .In most teaching weeks, you will be expected to have watched these lectures before the tutorials, although some of these lectures may be designed to be watched after the tutorials to recap on material discussed there. The module teaching team will also produce and make available on Moodle short guidance notes for each weekly tutorial. These notes will introduce the readings that must be completed in advance of each tutorial and will contain tips to help you understand and analyse those texts.

You will be expected to have completed the readings in advance of your tutorials. Your tutorials will enable you to discuss the readings in the context of specific tutorial questions, to obtain feedback on your pre-class preparation and to deepen your understanding of key concepts. To help you prepare in the best possible way for your tutorials, you will be completing regular Multiple-Choice Quizzes on Moodle. The quizzes will be based on the reading set for that week so that the quiz forms part of your preparation for each tutorial. The quizzes will enable you to track your progress, understand what you are doing well, and give you clear feedback to help you manage your studies and your progress.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   HU201 Summative Essay     

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Carlos Gigoux Gramegna, email:
Dr Carlos Gigoux Gramegna



External examiner

Dr Thomas Pegram
University College London
Associate Professor
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Human Rights Centre

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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