Skip to main content

Distributed for University of Wales Press

Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law

A Critical Legal Argument

Human dignity is not just gloss. Rather, its protection and amplification should be understood as the overall end to which international human rights law aims. This book provides both a descriptive account of how human dignity and international human rights law have been linked in the past, as well as sustained theoretical and practical arguments on how to make the link even tighter and more valuable. It successfully demonstrates the value of understanding human dignity as the end to which international human rights law strives through a number of prominent case studies and institutional analyses. Most innovatively, it links these themes to the critical legal studies tradition. Critical legal studies has long been known to eschew constructive moral arguments in favour of critique. This book argues that it is that in an age of post-modern conservatives such as Donald Trump and Victor Orban, internationalists and progressives need to provide more comprehensive and inspiring projects.

272 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

International Law

Language and Linguistics: Language and Law

Law and Legal Studies: International Law

University of Wales Press image

View all books from University of Wales Press


 "In this challenging and original work, Matthew McManus explores the unrealized potential of dignity. In pushing back on critical legal traditions where law serves as a tool of the oppressor, McManus endeavors to reimagine law as emancipatory and transformative. He reorients the international human rights project and demonstrates “how it could be used to establish a world in which human dignity was more broadly respected”. At a time of social anxiety and global uncertainty, Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law is a welcome contribution to the field."

Kathleen Cavanaugh, National University of Ireland (Galway)

"At a time when much of the post-war human rights project seems to be foundering on so many fronts, Matthew McManus offers us a timely and bold recasting of that project. Both analytically sophisticated and profoundly readable, this book makes a forceful case for placing a retooled concept of human dignity at the very heart of international human rights. It is an important and timely intervention that marks an original and compelling contribution to critical legal scholarship. It deserves to be widely read."

Trevor Purvis, Carleton University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 1. Overview of the Project PART I: Theorizing the relationship between human dignity and international human rights law 2. Dignity’s Contentious History 3. A Critical Legal Conception of Human Dignity 4. The State, International Human

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press