Started on: 01/24/2014
C LASS N OTES FOR : P OLI S CI 3Y03
McMaster University, Fall 2013
F RIDAY , ANUARY 24, Y
a. For human rights to have any meaning, they need to be also supported by
legislation and law
b. No matter how important theAmerican declaration of independence, or the French
revolutionary declaration, or the Universal declaration of human rights, none of
these documents have any power of law, because they are just declarations.All of
these declarations make no sense unless we bring politics in!
c. Human rights are the outcome of some very well known processes!
d. Processesthhat began whether we like it or now
i.16 century in Western Europe
ii.Human rights (premise) began to emerth as a result of economic,
ideological, etc. ethical changes in the 16 century, many of these changes
that began would consolidate themselves with the French revolution and
would become realized with the UN declaration of human rights.
2. Origins of human rights:AWestern phenomenon
a) Caused by development of social scientific theory:
a. Human rights are associated with social scientific theory that began at this
particular point in time; LAST CLASS: theories based on reason, based on critical
analysis. This social scientific theory that began to emerge was rationalistic and
analytic in its scope. Concerned with how men and women could be organized and
structured to bring about structure of equality.
i.Economic progress, modernization associated with ‘evolution’
ii.We have become better individuals beginning with this historical change,
constantly evolving and we are constantly ‘inventing’human rights - we
have yet to exhaust our ability to invent human rights.
• Rational and analytical (Positivism: observation, experimentation, and
Positivism - What is it? Why is it that we are all positivist?
• SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE based on mathematics.
• How were social things or events explained until this new
methodology came into being?
o Kant said that the human mind has evolved through TRHEE
“Abstract” - Philosophical, up in the air
“Fictitious” - Religious explanation of every social
“Reason” - The belief that we are as a species are
constantly evolving or changing and for the better.
Angie © McMaster University 1
Fall 2014 Started on: 01/24/2014
Social scientific theory is of two sorts, two main
strands when we talk about the social scientific
• Concerned with Progress, justice, and equality (some form of)
• Objectivist sociology (Durkheim: The Division of Labour in Society;
Suicide): woman and man as the product of society
Associated with great sociologies or political sociologies of Durkheim;
Types of Suicide, why would he write about suicide at this particular time
and remain relevant to this particular day?
Experiences of society, in the case of Durkheim - The changes brought
about by the Industrial revolution (positive and negative);
• Negative -Alienation
• The argument is that when societies are changing, men and women
who tend to be conservative by definition are afraid of the
unknown. Changes in the economy. Changes brought about by
globalization, neo-liberal economics and the downsizing of the
state. One could expect to have various jobs during our lifetime.
• RATE OF SUICIDE Acorrespondence, which validates
DIVISION OF LABOUR - Important for the objectivist society; who
claims that man and women is the product of society.
• We are created by society,
• His concern was with “how” to find mechanisms that could ensure
that every man and woman is pigeon hold with various activities.
o Division of labour; employees as there are employers, etc.
o Concerned with the process of socialization, and the process
of integration and adjustment. How do we socialize the
future generation into occupying the different roles within
the larger division of labour
o How do we find the mechanisms that could make possible