The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Human Rights and Memory

Human Rights and Memory

By Daniel Levy and Natan Sznaider
  • Publish Date: 8/10/2010
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-03738-7
  • Series Name: Essays on Human Rights

Hardcover Edition: $59.95Add to Cart

“In this inspirational text about the impact of human-rights principles and normative cosmopolitanism on both the nation-state and international relations, Levy and Sznaider address the dominant moral problems of our time. Why should I care? Who is my brother? What should I remember? Through a defense of cosmopolitan ethics, they provide convincing answers to the perplexities of rights from Hannah Arendt onwards, namely, the specific rights of citizens versus the universal Rights of Man. Human rights matter because modern states can no longer abuse their own citizens with impunity in the name of national unity. Given the slide toward authoritarianism and state security, the task of defending both cosmopolitanism and human rights has a definite political urgency to which Human Rights and Memory offers a decisive response.”
“This excellent book shows that the human rights regime gives rise to a geography of human rights that founds a new geography of power both within and between states. Within states it empowers powerless groups, and between states it empowers powerful states to intervene. This is part of a cosmopolitan realism that Levy and Sznaider are promoting and practicing very convincingly—a must-read.”

Memories of historical events like the Holocaust have played a key role in the internationalization of human rights. Their importance lies in their ability to bridge the universal and the particular—the universality of human values and the particularity of memories rooted in local human experiences. In Human Rights and Memory, Levy and Sznaider trace the growth of human rights discourse since World War II and interpret its deployment of memories as a new form of cosmopolitanism, exemplifying a dynamic through which global concerns become part of local experiences, and vice versa.

Daniel Levy is Associate Professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University.

Natan Sznaider is Professor of Sociology in the School of Behavioral Sciences at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, Israel.



1. The Ubiquity of Human Rights in a Cosmopolitan Age    
2. Sociology and Human Rights    
3. Sovereignty and Human Rights: The Hobbesian Challenge    
4. International Law and the Formation of Nation-States    
5. From Minority to Human: The Changing Face of Rights    
6. The Cold War Period: More Than One Universalism 7. The Post–Cold War Period: Globalization and the Cosmopolitan Turn    
8. Human Rights and the Clash of Memories: The Politics of Forgiveness    
9 East Meets West: Europe and Its Others    
10. A Sociology of Human Rights and Sovereignty After 9/11    


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