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MA Human Rights, Culture & Social Justice

Goldsmiths, University of London

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Course options

  • Qualification

    MA - Master of Arts

  • Location

    Goldsmiths, University of London

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date

    SEP-21

  • Duration

    1 year

Course summary

This MA examines contemporary issues concerning justice. You will learn how to conceptualise and study the possibilities of human rights, going beyond legal formulations to look at the conditions in which human rights claims are made.

Human rights mobilise millions of supporters across borders, inspiring passion and hope. And they operate at and between all the scales involved in globalisation: local, national, international, transnational. They are moral claims to justice. Although often associated with law, human rights are not the same as legal rights – human rights can be claimed where no legal rights are codified, even if changes in the law are invariably called for as part of attempts to realise human rights in practice.

Human rights are carried by different actors:

  • grassroots social movements, small Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and huge International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs)
  • lawyers and judges
  • bureaucrats and experts in Inter-Governmental Organisations (IGOs) even, sometimes, national politicians
  • journalists, novelists, translators, artists, filmmakers

These different actors are often at odds with each other in defining and defending particular justifications of what human rights are and should be.

In this Masters you will learn about how human rights are constructed, exploring framings of human rights through case studies; and you will begin to practice some of the methodologies and methods that are currently used in NGOs and grassroots activist networks trying to remedy global injustices.

The focus on culture that runs through the programme makes for an emphasis on concrete, situated practices and meanings. Can human rights contribute to a global culture in which injustices figure as ‘wrongs’? Or are human rights invariably skewed, constructing injustices in ways that suit international elites better than they suit people who are suffering? Do human rights do violence to local cultures? Are they an appropriate response to local violence? In this MA we contextualise the study of how human rights are constructed in micro-processes, in the media and face-to-face in relation to debates over macro-structures, processes of globalisation and the institutions of global governance.

In terms of social justice, the MA is set up to study human rights beyond narrow, legalistic definitions. We look at what really makes a difference in terms of realising human rights in practice. Can human rights really be constructed in ways that challenge and overturn established social structures? Can rights be claimed in such a way that they can really protect us as human beings against the ‘creative destruction’ of global capitalism, state repression, the subjugation of women, and hatred and violence against minorities of all kinds – sexual, ethnic, religious?

This course covers the following disciplines: sociology, politics, anthropology, law, geography, English, literature, cultural studies, criminology.

Careers

As issues of globalisation and justice are frequently in the media, and government policy in the UK, US, and elsewhere in Europe is now supposed to be guided by considerations of humanitarianism and human rights, there is a need for graduates with knowledge of human rights.

There are openings for careers in organisations including charities, humanitarian and human rights NGOs and even multi-national corporations, many of which are now concerned with their image in terms of human rights.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 17,760per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

Goldsmiths, University of London

  • University League Table

    63rd

  • Campus address

    Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, Lewisham, SE14 6NW, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    46th out of 105 21

  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    117 61%

    45th

    24
  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    60.0 60%

    20th

    57
  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    3.61 72%

    101st

    8

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