On July 26 Jack Snyder published his latest book, Human Rights for Pragmatists: Social Power in Modern Times, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022). An innovative framework for advancing human rights, the book has already received high praise – please see below.
“In this excellent study of human rights activism, Snyder emerges as a practical-minded champion of liberalism, urging human rights advocates to concentrate on popular appeals and democratic politics. Displaying an impressive mastery of more than two centuries of world politics, Human Rights for Pragmatists is smart, provocative, and powerful. This is a fresh and challenging contribution to some of the biggest debates about democracy’s fate in an era of rising populist authoritarianism.”
—Gary Bass, author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide
“Human Rights for Pragmatists is an important political primer for any advocate of the movement. This must-read comes at a critical juncture to remind us why victories for rights are not only matters of principle, but also of power and self-interest.”
—Emilie Hafner-Burton, author of Making Human Rights a Reality
“Jack Snyder aims to be pragmatic, building a bridge between power and law. Through Human Rights for Pragmatists, he connects scholars from different disciplines and opens a debate that should be extended.”
—Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
“For too long, we have lacked a serious historical sociology of human rights, one that locates the development and political purchase of such rights in the history of modernity and the evolution of the modern state. Human Rights for Pragmatists fills this gap, transforming our understanding of when struggles for rights succeed and how their victories are preserved. Concerned that dominant approaches to human rights promotion have lost sight of the social foundations of political success, Snyder emphasizes the critical importance of prevailing modes of social organization, rights supporting social coalitions, effective and durable implementing institutions, and locally resonant ideologies. Building on this theoretically and historically informed analysis, Snyder offers a sobering diagnosis of problems with current struggles for human rights. He matches this, however, with a powerful argument about how to reground and reorient such struggles, one that connects the politics of rights with the rejuvenation of social welfare democracy. Human Rights for Pragmatists is a pathbreaking contribution to debates about the future of human rights, the modern state, and international order. A must-read!”
—Christian Reus-Smit, author of Individual Rights and the Making of the International System.