Rights Based Empowerment: Understanding the Interaction between Power and Rights Mobilization


This paper develops an analytical framework to study how manifestations of power and power imbalances are related to rights mobilization. It seeks to understand how broader aspects of power sustain barriers to rights mobilization and to analyze broader empowerment approaches that are preconditional to successful rights invocation. The paper integrates the socio-legal literature on rights mobilization and access to justice to the broader social and political science literature on power into an integrated framework for rights based empowerment. In this framework perspectives and barriers of multiple relevant actors in multiple processes and arenas are combined. The idea of rights based empowerment recognizes that rights mobilization may often require a broader empowerment that is beyond existing socio-legal approaches that focus on direct and evident barriers to rights invocation without sufficiently addressing their underlying causes in power imbalances.

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