The Rise and Fall of Human Rights

Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine


Series: Stanford Studies in Human Rights

The Rise and Fall of Human Rights provides a groundbreaking ethnographic investigation of the Palestinian human rights world—its NGOs, activists, and "victims," as well as their politics, training, and discourse—since 1979. Though human rights activity began as a means of struggle against the Israeli occupation, in failing to end the Israeli occupation, protect basic human rights, or establish an accountable Palestinian government, the human rights industry has become the object of cynicism for many Palestinians. But far from indicating apathy, such cynicism generates a productive critique of domestic politics and Western interventionism. This book illuminates the successes and failures of Palestinians' varied engagements with human rights in their quest for independence.

In The Press

"The idiom of human rights now pervades Palestinian ideas of who they are and what they hope to be. This eye-opening book explores how, between the friction of disappointment and hope, human rights values might still generate more viable means to build a common world. A profound reflection on the dominant discourse of emancipation in our times."

About The Author

Lori Allen is a University Lecturer in Contemporary Middle Eastern Politics & Society at the University of Cambridge.