This course is open to students enrolled in the Master Law and Society.
Please note: students enrolled in the master Law and Society can only obtain 5 ECTS for this course (the 8 ECTS variant of this course is not for students of Law and Society).
Human rights do not realise themselves. Something needs to happen, and therein lies a major dilemma: States are both envisaged as the primary protectors at human rights, while simultaneously being the greatest violators. In the first part of this course, we alternate between interactive lectures and participatory workshops, exploring interactions between law and collective action, and develop two main analytical lenses to explain the potential and challenges of law-based advocacy, or legal mobilization. The first lens draws on social movement theory (from legal/political opportunity structures to cause lawyering), the second lens draws on rights-based approaches to understanding social justice advocacy (from locally-grounded initiatives to transnational movements). In the second part of the course, we explore how legal mobilization as a practice tries to influence lawmaking processes, how the law constrains collective action and how existing laws and institutions can be leveraged to realize social change and improve their situations, drawing on concrete examples from all around the world. We explore how especially economic and social rights, but also civil and political rights can be organised ‘from below’, including among socially excluded groups, as well as with support from legal and non-legal advocacy. The course provides room for critical reflections and in what can seem unpromising circumstances, some prospective for social transformation.
Case studies are central to the teaching method in this course, and theories introduced are theories about practices, lessons learned from analysing experience (so-called failures as well as successes). The course is designed to develop attitudinal skills and confidence, alongside analytical skills depending on critical reading of texts and contexts.
At the end of this course, students are able to:
Explain how values, institutions, strategic alliances and networks affect the mobilizing of rights;
Explain how different forms of rights-based legal mobilization can address social exclusion, human insecurity and social injustice;
Apply the above insights to an essay that focuses a specific problem of social injustice and provides an academic argument how a rights-based mobilization has the potential to address that problem and overcome challenges in its realization.
This course is offered by the International Institute for Social Studies of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (location The Hague). For information on the schedule, please contact the coordinator of the master Law and Society (Danielle Chevalier).
Mode of instruction
Number of (2 hour) lectures: 5
Names of lecturers: to be announced
Required preparation by students: reading assigned materials
Number of (2 hour) seminars: 5
Names of instructors: to be announced
Required preparation by students: individually preparing 5 minutes of a longer group presentation.
Active student participation is essential and reading the required texts is vital, so that participants can contribute to class discussions.
The assessment consists of an in-class presentation (15%) and a final essay (85%).
All components should be at least 5,5 in order to complete the course successfully. If this is not the case, the lowest partial grade will be registered as final grade.
Students who fail the course, can do a retake of the final essay.
Grades remain valid for the academic year in which they were attained.
To be announced.
Areas to be tested within the exam
To be announced.
Obligatory course materials
To be announced.
This course is offered by the International Institute for Social Studies of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (location The Hague). For information on registration, please contact the coordinator of the master Law and Society (Danielle Chevalier).
Coordinator: Danielle Chevalier
Work address: KOG (Steenschuur 25 Leiden)
Telephone number: 071 – 527 1039
Institute: The Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law
Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society
Room number secretary: KOG (Steenschuur 25 Leiden), room B1.14
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 9.00 – 17.00
Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7260
This course is offered by the International Institute for Social Studies of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (location The Hague). For information on registration, the schedule or the digital learning environment, please contact the coordinator of the master Law and Society (Danielle Chevalier).