Human Rights in Action

Learning Expert Knowledge


Since World War II, human rights have engaged people around the world like perhaps no other discourse. In Finland their embrace represents a shift from ideological homogeneity to pluralism and openness. Human rights education is understood to hold a key role in empowering individuals to become free and equal members of their societies. Yet little empirical scholarship exists evaluating how this goal is met in reality. By combining anthropological approaches with critical legal theory, this study explores the conceptions of knowledge, expertise and learning embedded in the educational activities of a particular network of Scandinavian and Nordic human rights experts. It explores how the ideals of emancipation and equality of the abstract discourse are realized in action.

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Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, PhD., social anthropology (2008), LLM, public international law (2003), University of Helsinki, is a Post-Doctorate Scholar at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights. Her ongoing research project examines human rights expertise.
"Miia Halme-Tuomisaari's constructively critical engagement with a Nordic community of human rights experts is both liberating and empowering. This is a path-breaking, insightful and even exciting study of the “human rights phenomenon.”
Martti Koskenniemi, author of The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law 1870-1960.

"This is a wonderful book, not merely because of its style but because of its diversity and boldness. It reminds us how law is merely one form of societal control – an interesting, important and at times a dangerous one – and illustrates how lawyers are often a ‘part of the problem."
Professor Elina Pirjatanniemi, Director of the Abo Akademi Institute for Human Rights.

Chapter one: Introduction
Chapter Two: Emergence of the Human Rights Phenomenon in Finland
Chapter Three: The Scandinavian Network of Human Rights Experts
Chapter Four: Training for Expertise
Chapter Five: From Translation to Advocation through Law
Chapter Six: Profile of Expertise
Conclusions, Bibliography, Index.
Readers interested in human rights, critical legal theory, legal anthropology, the emergence of the human rights phenomenon in Finland, and conceptions of learning, expertise and knowledge.
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