The role played by ritual in the field of human rights has not been widely remarked or analysed. Here I argue that the triumph of human rights as the predominant language for making social justice claims in the international sphere is partly attributable to the power of certain linguistic and embodied rituals. I suggest that these rituals veil the material factors at stake when human rights are invoked internationally, obscuring the relationship between neoliberalism, material inequality, and human rights. I compare the vision of justice propounded through the rituals of human rights with that proposed by the peasants' movement, Vía Campesina. Vía Campesina's vision is grounded in material realities and confronts neoliberal policies head on. I consider how it unsettles the rituals of human rights, and whether it can be preserved in the form of a UN Declaration on the rights of peasants.
|Canadian journal of law and society = Revue canadienne de droit et societe
|Published - 2017