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Transnational Threats and Opportunities

Alison Brysk

  Globalization—the growing interpenetration of states, markets, communications, and ideas across borders—is one of the leading characteristics of the contemporary world. International norms and institutions for the protection of human rights are more developed than at any previous point in history, while global civil society fosters growing avenues of appeal for citizens repressed by their own states. But assaults on fundamental human dignity continue, and the very blurring of borders and rise of transnational actors that facilitated the development of a global human rights regime may also be generating new sources of human rights abuse. Even as they are more broadly articulated and accepted, the rights of individuals have come to depend ever more on a broad array of global actors and forces, from ministries to multinationals to missionaries.

What are the patterns of the human rights impact of globalization? Are new problems replacing, intensifying, or mitigating state-sponsored repression? Are some dynamics of globalization generating both problems and opportunities? How can new opportunities be used to offset new problems? And how has the idea and practice of human rights influenced the process of globalization?

How does globalization—which liberals claim will promote development, democracy, personal empowerment, and global governance—instead present new challenges for human rights? Globalization is a package of transnational flows of people, production, investment, information, ideas, and authority (not new, but stronger and faster).1 Human rights are a set of claims and entitlements to human dignity, which the existing international regime assumes will be provided (or threatened) by the state. A more cosmopolitan and open international system should free individuals to pursue their rights, but large numbers of people seem to be suffering from both long-standing state repression and new denials of rights linked to transnational forces. The essays in this volume show that the challenge of globalization is that unaccountable flows of migration and open markets present new threats, which are not amenable to state-based human rights regimes, while the new opportunities of global information and institutions are insufficiently accessible and distorted by persistent state intervention.

The emergence of an "international regime" for human rights (Donnelly 1986), growing transnational social movement networks, increasing consciousness (Willetts 1996), and information politics have the potential to address both traditional and emerging forms of human rights violations. The United Nations has supervised human rights reform in El Salvador, Cambodia, and Haiti, while creating a new high commissioner for human rights. The first international tribunals since Nuremberg are prosecuting genocide in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Transnational legal accountability (Stephens and Ratner 1996) and humanitarian intervention promote universal norms and link them to the enforcement power of states. Thousands of nongovernmental organizations monitor and lobby for human rights from Tibet to East Timor (Boli and Thomas 1999). Alongside principled proponents such as Amnesty International, globalization has generated new forms of advocacy such as transnational professional networks (Doctors without Borders), global groups for conflict monitoring, and coalitions across transnational issues (Sierra Club-Amnesty International). New forms of communication allow victims to videotape their plight, advocates to flood governments with faxes, Web sites to mobilize urgent action alerts. But the effectiveness of global consciousness and pressure on the states, paramilitaries, and insurgents responsible for long-standing human rights violations varies tremendously. And access to the new global mechanisms is distributed unevenly, so that some of the neediest victims—such as the illiterate rural poor and refugee women—are the least likely to receive either global or domestic redress.

Beyond this interaction of new solutions with old problems, new human rights problems may result from the integration of markets, the shrinking of states, increased transnational flows such as migration, the spread of cultures of intolerance, and the decision-making processes of new or growing global institutions (Kofman and Youngs 1996; Mittelman 1996; Held 2000). The increasing presence of multinational corporations has challenged labor rights throughout Southeast Asia, along the Mexican border, and beyond. Increasing levels of migration worldwide make growing numbers of refugees and undocumented laborers vulnerable to abuse by sending and receiving states, as well as transnational criminal networks. Hundreds of Mexican nationals die each year crossing the U.S. border; in contrast, 450 German migrants were killed during forty years of Europeans crossing the Berlin Wall. International economic adjustment and the growth of tourism are linked to a rise in prostitution and trafficking in women and children, affecting millions in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the post-Soviet states and even the United States. The U.S. State Department estimates that one to two million persons each year are trafficked for various forms of forced labor and "modern-day slavery"—including almost 50,000 annually to the United States (Richard 1999). The same Internet that empowers human rights activists increases government monitoring, instructs neo-Nazis, and carries transnational death threats against dissenters. Unelected global institutions like the World Bank, international peacekeepers, and environmental NGOs administering protected areas increasingly control the lives of the most powerless citizens of weak states.

In this volume, we attempt to map new territory, bring together diverse perspectives, challenge conventional wisdom, and begin to cumulate research to address these questions and contradictions. Our aim is not to introduce a new theory of globalization, but rather to identify generalizable patterns from diverse developments. In order to make sense of these developments, we must first consider the general trends of human rights and globalization. Then we can map patterns in the globalized development of human rights threats and opportunities.


Human Rights in a Global Arena

Human rights are a set of universal claims to safeguard human dignity from illegitimate coercion, typically enacted by state agents. These norms are codified in a widely endorsed set of international undertakings: the "International Bill of Human Rights" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and International Covenant on Social and Economic Rights); phenomenon-specific treaties on war crimes (Geneva Conventions), genocide, and torture; and protections for vulnerable groups such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. International dialogue on human rights has produced a distinction between three "generations" of human rights, labeled for their historical emergence. Security rights encompass life, bodily integrity, liberty, and sometimes associated rights of political participation and democratic governance. Social and economic rights, highlighted in the eponymous International Covenant, comprise both negative and positive freedoms, enacted by states and others: prominently, rights to food, health care, education, and free labor. More recently discussed collective rights may include rights such as membership in a cultural community and access to a healthy environment (Chris Brown 1997). These "generations" of rights often involve different sets of actors and different levels of state accountability.

While the origins of the international human rights regime, U.S. foreign policy, NGO monitoring, and much previous scholarship have focused on security rights, this project will entertain a broader conception of linked political, social, and cultural rights grounded in the Universal Declaration. A focus on security rights may be desirable for clarity and manageability, as well as because security rights of life and freedom are "basic" or enabling rights that make the pursuit of other rights possible (Shue 1980). However, human rights claims have an inherently expanding character, which requires the consideration of every type of threat to human dignity under a range of changing social conditions. Thus, both liberty and survival may involve social issues, such as the right to free labor and to organize for better labor conditions. Some vulnerable groups, notably women and indigenous peoples, may face linked threats that emanate from public and private actors, and seek cultural freedoms to meaningfully participate in civic life. Furthermore, the very process of globalization blurs distinctions among categories of rights: humanitarian intervention seeks to rescue ethnic groups, women working as prostitutes are beaten by police for "bothering tourists" to feed their children, and rights to privacy and expression collide on the Internet (also see McCorquodale and Fairbrother 1999). In this volume, these linked rights can be delineated by granting priority to those rights that enable others and those violations that present the greatest harm to victims.

Human rights values derive from and are justified by reference to philosophical constructions of human nature, cultural and religious traditions, demands from civil society, and international influence. In practical importance, the latter two political factors are the most important source of human rights in the contemporary world (Perry 1998; Montgomery 1998). Accordingly, despite frequent violations in practice, international consensus has implanted human rights as a nearly universal vocabulary of debate, aspiration, and civic challenges to state legitimacy.

Analysts of human rights have identified a variety of psychological, social, economic, and political patterns that put societies "at risk" of human rights violations. These generally include authoritarian government, civil war, strong ethnic cleavages, weak civil society, power vacuums, critical junctures in economic development, and military dominance (Mitchell and McCormick 1988; Haas 1994; Donnelly 1998b). Above all, the study of human rights teaches us that human rights violations usually reflect a calculated (or manipulated) pursuit of political power, not inherent evil or ungovernable passions (Gurr 1984; Human Rights Watch 1995b). One of our first tasks is to analyze the effect of globalization on these risk factors.

The effect of globalization on state-based human rights violations will depend on the type of state and its history. In newly democratizing countries with weak institutions and elite-controlled economies (Russia, Latin America, Southeast Asia), the growth of global markets and economic flows tends to destabilize coercive forces but increase crime, police abuse, and corruption. Global mobility and information flows generally stimulate ethnic mobilization, which may promote self-determination in responsive states but more often produces collective abuses in defense of dominant-group hegemony. On the other hand, the same forces have produced slow institutional openings by less fragmented single-party states (like China and Mexico). In much of Africa, globalization has ironically increased power vacuums, by both empowering substate challengers and providing sporadic intervention, which displaces old regimes without consolidating new ones. Some of the most horrifying abuses of all have occurred in the transnationalized, Hobbesian civil wars of Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Congo.

But the literature on human rights has also moved beyond the conventional wisdom that situated human rights violations and remediation predominantly within the state, to suggest ways in which globalization creates new opportunities to challenge the state "from above and below" (Brysk 1993; Risse et al. 1999). Human rights research has produced both evidence of new capabilities for monitoring, pressure, and sanctions (Alston and Steiner 1996; Keck and Sikkink 1998), along with reports of new types and venues of abuse (Human Rights Watch 1996; Fields 1998; Rickard 1998; Peters and Wolper 1995). In general, analysts of globalization find that states' international integration improves security rights, but increases inequality and threatens the social rights of citizens (Crossette 2000; Milner 1998). However, neither economic development nor economic growth in and of themselves improve human rights performance (Montgomery 1998: 325; Amartya Sen 1999; Tan 1999). In addition to globalization and growth, findings on the effectiveness of international pressure on state human rights policy suggest that target states must be structurally accessible, internationally sensitive, and contain local human rights activists for linkage (Burgerman 1998; Sikkink 1993).

There is little systematic evidence available on the overall human rights impact of global flows and actors, and that which does exist is often contradictory. For example, quantitative studies that demonstrate improved security rights where MNCs (multinational corporations) are present (Meyer 1998) contrast with case studies documenting multinational reinforcement of state coercion and labor suppression (Arregui 1996; Ho et al. 1996). Other scholars suggest that the impact of multinationals depends more on their type of production, customer base, or sending country than their globalizing nature (Spar 1998). Similarly, some studies indicate that even within "economic globalization," different types of global economic flows at different times will have different impacts on democracy and human rights (for example, for Li and Reuveny 2000, trade is negative but foreign direct investment is positive). There is some basis for believing that new global human rights mechanisms, such as transnational NGO campaigns, may be particularly effective against transnational actors like multinationals. Analysts argue that transnational human rights threats can be most easily met by transnational human rights campaigns, since it is easier to access transnational actors than repressive states, transnationals cannot cloak their abuses in sovereignty rationales, global elites are increasingly amenable to "rights talk," and global civil society can provide local linkages for transnational networks (Rodman 1998; Brysk 2000a). The research in this volume suggests that the human rights impact of globalization depends on three types of factors: the type of globalization involved, the level of analysis addressed, and the type of state that is filtering globalizing flows.


Globalization: Rights and Wrongs

What do we mean by globalization? While some analysts treat globalization as a predominantly economic process or even a synonym for global capitalism (Greider 1997; Korten 1995), others focus on the growth of international institutions and organizations (Ruggie 1998). Some scholars emphasize the impact of transnational demographic, environmental, and cultural flows (Kearney 1995; Sassen 1998, 1996), while others plot the emergence of cross-border networks that may constitute a "global civil society" (Kaldor 1999; Lipschutz 1996; Wapner 1996). In this project, these developments are seen as facets of a linked, albeit uneven, process. In an extension of Jan Aart Scholte's definition, globalization is an ensemble of developments that make the world a single place, changing the meaning and importance of distance and national identity in world affairs (Scholte 1996b: 44).2 Nevertheless, aspects of globalization that occur simultaneously may have very different logics and impact for human rights—as the sections of this book reflect.3

In order to analyze globalization as a comprehensive process, it must be recognized as a dynamic process, that is, a change over time. One of the biggest challenges to analyzing the current era of globalization is the observation of historical periods with similar elements and very different political results (Hirst and Thompson 1996). However, globalization need not be entirely new to be significant, and significant in new ways. Some suggest that globalization has occurred in waves, with the current wave linked to U.S. hegemony and the emergence of a "democratic peace" in the core of the world economy.4 The current wave of globalization does surpass previous eras in the breadth, scope, and intensity of the combination of connection, cosmopolitanism, commodification, and communication. It is this combination of norms, flows, institutions, and markets that has particular political consequences for human rights.

A more globalized world is simultaneously more connected, cosmopolitan, commodified, and influenced by communication. Connection is a functional parameter of globalization, involving increasing numbers, volumes, and salience of transnational flows of bodies, business, information, and norms. The sections of this volume are organized around these flows: transnational migration and citizenship, global markets and commodification, international uses of information and communication, and transnational norms embodied in attempts at governance. The cosmopolitan dimension is structural; the evolution of multiple, linked, and overlapping centers of power above and below the state. This is closely related to James N. Rosenau's analysis of a "multicentric" turbulent world. Commodification highlights distinctive characteristics of expanding world markets and their relationship to other flows, institutions, and states. As Richard Falk's contribution details, globalization as commodification means that increasing spheres of social relationship are based on exchange value, including citizenship. The underlying causal dynamic that has catalyzed and intensified each of these dimensions of globalization is communication, which combines an increase in technical capacity and volume, a shift in the distribution of capabilities, a diversification of channels, and an expansion of content (Deibert 1997). As Shayne Weyker and Clifford Bob discuss, communication carries both information and norms, affective images and transnational identities. Both terrorism and the international response also reflect these characteristics.

What are the effects of globalization? Optimists suggest that transnational integration will empower citizen challenges to state power (Falk 1995; Rosenau 1997), while revisionists assert that globalization reiterates national and/or market exploitation (Bhabha 1998a; Burbach et al. 1997; Brecher and Costello 1994; Mander and Goldsmith 1996). One attempt to resolve this debate delineates good and bad forms of globalization; "globalization from above" versus "globalization from below." (Hunter 1995; Falk 1994) Another set of scholars contend that a deeper process of globalization has transformed the fundamental forms of world politics through changing identities, evolving social forms such as networks, and the diffusion of an increasingly influential world institutional culture that includes support for human rights or at least democracy (Robertson 1992; Castells 1997; Meyer et al. 1997). This project suggests, instead, that different elements and levels of globalization may produce distinct effects of empowerment, exploitation, and evolution; also Friedman 1999).

But these diverse effects are not random or wholly ambiguous. Previous research suggests that world politics is clustered in three streams, with distinctive logics: the interstate realm, global markets, and transnational civil society. These domains are differentially accessible and responsive to human rights appeals, with civic actors most amenable and states most resistant to a reconstruction of existing relationships. Furthermore, the appeals of target groups are facilitated when markets, states, and transnational social forces are separable rather than working in tandem (Brysk 2000a). Globalization is most positive for human rights when it enables the exchange of information and the formation of new identities, and most negative when it reinscribes borders and props up repressive states. Global markets, on the other hand, generate systematically contradictory effects that depend heavily on the type of state and sector involved. Meanwhile, global civil society introduces new norms, which sometimes become institutionalized as evolving human rights standards, and, ultimately, objects of interstate enforcement. Recent events suggest that a fourth realm of transnational violence may have its own patterns and effects.

We can thus begin to map the effects of different forms of globalization on different kinds of rights (see table 1). Increased mobility provides refuge to some but also opportunities for abusive policing and economic exploitation. Global markets also increase economic exploitation, but may provide increased monitoring of social and security conditions. Information facilitates campaigns for all types of rights, as well as the formation of transnational networks and reporting to the emergent "international human rights regime." And governance provides a new array of enforcement tools, from intervention to law to economic sanctions. <Place table 1 about here>

Meanwhile, these streams of globalization are unfolding at different levels of analysis—the second key factor suggested by our approach. Rosenau's contribution examines the human rights impact of globalization across states and concludes that transnational flows and institutions are constructing evolving responses to "the most obstreperous actor" (still usually a state). By contrast, Richard Falk distinguishes globalization above and below the state, attributing threats mainly to unaccountable transnational market forces and institutions, partly combated by the struggles of grassroots global civil society. Donnelly introduces the missing element of globalization through the state, which he finds highly problematic for social rights, in ways that also reiterate the distinction between different streams of globalization and their differential effect on rights.

These levels of analysis overlap with the streams of globalization. Global mobility operates across and through the state, and the rights impact is generally more positive across and more negative through—both Kristen Maher and Amalia Lucia Cabezas suggest that policing creates more violations than migration itself. Global markets may be across (financial flows), above (multilateral trade and financial institutions), through (economic adjustment), or below (grassroots protests, shifts in local production or consumption). This is part of the problem in assessing the contradictory effects of markets on rights (Wesley Milner's analysis is across and above, while Raul Pangalangan's is through and below). Global information is predominantly across and below the state, hence it tends to facilitate rights unless bottlenecks develop through (Weyker) or above (Bob) the state. Finally, global governance appears as the paradigm of globalization from above. But Fox explores a trilateral struggle between a multilateral institution above, a transnational campaign below, and recalcitrant states in the middle, while Wayne Sandholtz shows that globalization from above can partially supersede the state level—when states have lost legitimacy across the international system. The latter has wider implications for the study of global governance, as it suggests that the development of global norms and institutions is actually a three- or four-level game, not just an interstate coordination problem (Evans et al. 1993; Smith et al. 1997).

Finally, our analysis shows that the human rights impact of globalization is filtered through the type of receiving state (Holm and Sorensen 1995). Much of the literature on globalization has overlooked the effect of globalization on the state; globalization has produced a new "globalized state"—changing rather than eroding sovereignty (Ian Clark 1999). As some scholars have argued, power is moving from weak states to strong states, from all states to markets, and away from state authority entirely in certain domains and functions (Strange 1998; Schmidt 2000). At the same time, the state is the main administrator of globalization. As one partisan of globalization puts it, globalization means that the quality of the state matters more, since the state is "the operating system for global capitalism" (Friedman 1999: 134). Thus, the struggle for human rights in a global era is now from above, from below—and still through the middle.


The Globalized State as Threat

In the security sphere, states respond with increased repression to fragmentation, transnationalized civil war, and uncontrolled global flows such as migrants and drug trafficking. Transborder ethnic diasporas help inspire civil conflict, while the global arms trade provides its tools. Even extreme civil conflicts where states deteriorate into warlordism are often financed if not abetted by foreign trade: diamonds in the Congo and Sierra Leone, cocaine in Colombia. While nonstate actors like insurgents and paramilitaries pose increasing threats to human rights, state response is a crucial multiplier for the effect on citizens. Since all but the most beleaguered states possess more resources and authority than rebels, they can generally cause more damageand human rights monitoring in a wide variety of settings from Rwanda to Haiti attributes the bulk of abuses to state (or state-supported) forces. States also differ in their ability and will to provide protection from insurgent terror campaigns (like that in Algeria).

Global economic relationships can produce state policies that directly violate social and labor rights and indirectly produce social conflict that leads to state violations of civil and security rights. While globally induced economic adjustment may cut state services and intensify poverty and protest, global windfalls of wealth may also underwrite repressive and predatory states, as in Angola, where oil revenues have fueled repression and civil war (Harden 2000). It is states that largely determine labor rights and security response to labor dissidence; states also regulate multinationals, certify unions, and form joint ventures with global investors.


Globalization and the Citizenship Gap

Just as globalized states may present new threats alongside long-standing patterns of repression, globalization offers states declining opportunities to serve as a source of human rights protection. Increasing numbers of residents of increasing numbers of states are less than full citizens. Over 25 million people are international refugees, while an estimated similar number are economic migrants—mostly undocumented and generally lacking civil rights (Mills 1998: 97-124). Refugee camps can also become sites or sources of human rights violations, as in Rwanda, Lebanon, Guatemala, and Indonesia. Within many countries, internally displaced persons, rural-urban migrants, and isolated peasants (often illiterate) are also undocumented and lack rights and civil status. In China alone, an estimated 100 million people are unregistered domestic migrant workers (Solinger 1995). Many millions around the world live in occupied territories or emergency zones where citizenship was never granted or has been suspended. A number of the states hosting the world's 300 million indigenous people assign them special juridical status—often tutelary—which may fall short of conventional citizenship. Similarly, a significant number of states (especially in the Middle East) circumscribe the rights of the female half of their populations—and personal status codes contravene international human rights standards and sometimes directly deny citizenship or nationality (Chinkin 1999). Analysts of globalization speak of variable levels and configurations of citizenship within the same state, depending on the triangulation between a given sector, state power, and transnational forces, and even regional zones of limited citizenship (such as limitations on movement, speech, and assembly in export-processing zones) (Ong 1999).

Meanwhile, alongside people who are not citizens, states have diminished capacity to control the conditions of citizenship—even for those securely inscribed within the juridical and social status. Observers of states undergoing both political and economic liberalization decry the emergence of "delegative democracy," which is characterized by "low-intensity citizenship" (O'Donnell 1994; Stahler-Sholk 1994). More and more legal citizens lack effective accountability for power relationships; their lives depend on distant investment decisions, organizational resolutions, religious edicts, and information campaigns. "Economic liberalization is exacerbating the gap between rich and poor within virtually all developing regions. At the same time, other elements of globalization are increasing the inequalities of political power and influence, as well as highlighting new dimensions of inequality. For one group of countries globalization is eroding the cohesion and viability of the state" (Hurrell and Woods 1999: 1). These global forces are often translated into local conditions in opaque ways, which deepens the gap of information, knowledge, and control further. Since migration is the transnational flow with the strongest claim to state control, it is interesting that Maher and Cabezas each note a "citizenship gap" both for aliens to developed countries and citizens of developing countries (vis-à-vis tourists).5

Types of States and the Impact of Globalization

Beyond these general trends of accelerating threats and declining opportunities, the impact of globalization on human rights conditions differs in different types of states. Many analyses of transnationalism suggest that the impact of global forces on various issue-areas is filtered by domestic characteristics (Risse-Kappen 1995; Keohane and Milner 1996)—even straightforward economic effects depend on a state's factor endowments, economic institutions, and policies (Stewart and Berry 1999).6 One scholar outlines a general pattern of types of states with different patterns of international interaction: premodern, Westphalian modern nation-states, and postmodern, with the former and latter departing significantly from standard scholarly assumptions of sovereignty, anarchy, and self-help (Sorenson 2000).

We can further develop these distinctions, and the tendencies of different types of globalizing states for human rights performance and the citizenship gap. First, in collapsing and "failed" states such as large sectors of Africa, foreign aid and international organizations often simultaneously prop up power vacuums and assist victims (Ignatieff 1998). Globalization brings increased market flows and weak intervention, but little accountability and no definitive governance. Here, the citizenship gap is most severe, as victims lack control at the community, state, and international level. In second place, aspiring theocracies like Afghanistan—which make war on women—are less a return to tradition than a reaction against foreign penetration sustained by international identity politics. Victims lack both state citizenship and voice in the religious/ethnic community, which engenders "private" violations. Similarly, ethnocracies are both inspired by and reactive to international forces. Sometimes international organizations intervene, as in Kosovo. However, interveners, ethnocratic and emerging states, and ethnic communities all violate rights (the way ethnic Albanians in Kosovo are now persecuting Serbs), and none are subject to citizen accountability. Next, the few remaining "hard states"—such as China—seem to be evolving toward what has been labeled "market Leninism," in which centralized political control coexists with (and indeed may depend upon) opening to global markets. But in such states, growing international influence does seem to foster some partial increase in transparency, the rule of law, and international cooperation—although it has not yet produced systematic improvement in human rights. The citizenship gap here is predominantly democratizing the state, and secondarily accessing market pressures. Most of Latin America, parts of Southeast Asia, and many post-Soviet states are now "low-intensity democracies," with globalizing electoral regimes systematically skewed by social inequalities and weak states. Residents of these areas have low-quality citizenship and no access to the market forces that dominate their states. Even postmodern, liberal capitalist democracies experience human rights impacts from globalization, becoming more connected and aware but simultaneously overloaded in state capacity to process diverse and complex issues. We too lack full control over global markets, although we are more insulated from their effects than citizens of weak or authoritarian states. We are also more dependent on the opportunity of the globalization of information, but thus more vulnerable in those situations where information is a threat: as surveillance, ideology, or terror.


Globalization, Human Rights, and the New World Order

These essays were written during 2000, before the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York and Washington ushered in a new world order framed by renewed security threats, directly targeting globalization, along with an international military response. While in some ways these events go beyond the scope of issues considered in this volume, in others they strengthen the relevance and urgency of this analysis.

The nature of the threat, its targets and impact, and the response all indicate the growing power of globalization as a parameter of political action. The emergence of transnational civil networks capable of state-level crimes against humanity depends upon the globalizing patterns of connection, communication, and even commodification (via financial networks). It is inspired by a transnational ideology of a radical, extremist version of Islamic fundamentalism that is largely reactive to economic and cultural globalization, and thus targets sites and symbols of both cosmopolitanism and hegemony. The shattering impact of threats to globalizing flows such as air travel on the world economy and daily life demonstrate how deeply dependent we have become on these connections. And even the U.S.-sponsored response has gone beyond the historical standard reaction of a great power under direct attack; it is more internationalist, multisectoral in its treatment of areas like migration and finance, and much more conscious of human rights issues such as laws of war, refugees, and humanitarian assistance.

While the crisis of 2001-2002 has diminished global levels of migration and economic exchange, it has increased flows of communication and governance. And the new world order has not diminished the salience or fundamentally altered the pattern of the human rights impact of any of the forms of globalization. Indeed, the impact on human rights of the new global threat of terrorism itself largely follows the logic suggested by this volume, with the most deleterious spillovers linked to state-regulated migration and governance (intervention), mixed results of markets, and enduring avenues of appeal via global communications. Our second factor, the type of state, is also relevant, as liberal democracies are most vulnerable to the new threat, while failed states suffer disproportionately from the response. The final element—level of analysis—matters in a new way that will require further study, as international authorities above and through the state struggle to respond to unaccountable forces across and below state boundaries.

The first global conflict of the new millennium marks a new phase in the development of human rights, which should heighten our attention to the issues examined in this volume. The persistence of human rights as a focus of legislative and public debates on security measures in the United States and Germany, as well as the widespread efforts to foster tolerance and support for Muslim minorities, show that liberal human rights standards have shifted the agenda beyond those of previous conflicts. Although such standards are not always achieved, and new security policies sometimes do violate civil liberties, human rights norms and networks remain legitimate and incorporated in international policymaking and the politics of the dominant international powers.

Yet the background and supporters of the terrorists demonstrate the limitations of liberal conceptions, and the connections between chronic denials of economic, social, and political rights and a climate of dysfunctional political violence. Without excusing or justifying the moral responsibility of terrorists, we must understand the conditions that make perpetrators more likely to arise and gain credence. The emergence of new human rights threats from the ashes of Cold War struggles, at the haunting edges of the globalizing world economy, should remind us to broaden our attention beyond the core conflict of each era—to consider those at the peripheries, whose pain or pathology may well become the theme of the next epoch. In this new world order, it is ever more urgent to deepen our understanding of the new global threats to human rights, even beyond the normative and cosmopolitan connections charted below—for our own survival.


Map of the Volume

In this volume, we try to assess the impact of globalization on human rights and the impact of human rights on globalization. The chapters cannot possibly encompass the full range of either globalization or human rights, but they do sample across the spectrum of threats and opportunities. Although most of the chapters are global in focus, those that concentrate on a place or region include the United States (Maher), Latin America (Cabezas), Asia (Pangalangan), and Africa (Bob). Similarly, the contributors bring a variety of methodologies to bear on common questions: theoretical deduction (Falk, Rosenau, Donnelly), cross-national quantitative study (Milner), policy analysis (Maher, Fox, Sandholtz), and case studies (Cabezas, Bob).

The first section, "Citizenship," analyzes the effect on rights as people cross borders and states shift capabilities and goals. This essay has identified a broader "citizenship gap," as globalized states introduce new threats and provide declining opportunities to citizens, while increasing numbers of residents lack citizenship claims. Illustrating the latter dynamic, Kristen Maher deconstructs the immigration policy of the largest receiving nation, the United States, in relation to labor flows from Latin America and the rights ideology of liberalism. In a complementary geography and analysis, Amalia Lucia Cabezas shows how prostitution in the Dominican Republic is constituted by global economic adjustment and northern tourism. However, her contribution also emphasizes both the role of the state as an intervening actor in economic development and policing and sex workers' transnational mobilization for labor and security rights.

In "Commodification," the book turns to the globalization of markets. Richard Falk highlights the political impact of economic globalization, and the contradictions between economic and political liberalism for social rights. Wesley Milner's comprehensive study of economic liberalization establishes the differential impact of structural integration on different types of rights. By contrast, Raul Pangalangan documents and analyzes mobilization against the deleterious effects of multinational labor exploitation in Asia.

"Communication" examines the influence of information flows and global civil society on human rights. Shane Weyker provides an overview of the inherent potential and pitfalls of the new information technologies for human rights activists. Clifford Bob documents the power and distortions of transnational communications and network appeals, through a comparative case study of Nigeria's Ogoni. Both authors emphasize the social context of information and the organizational politics of NGOs. James Rosenau applies his pioneering analysis of global turbulence to the cosmopolitan governance of "most obstreperous actors."

The next section, "Cooperation," explores the emerging exercise of institutional authority across borders on behalf of human rights. Jonathan Fox explores an increasing mechanism of international accountability: transnational mobilization against a global institution. Then, his chapter outlines the limitations of institutional reform, seeking largely social and collective rights. Wayne Sandholtz chronicles the emergence and limitations of a norm and practice of humanitarian intervention—when global human rights standards trump state sovereignty. Finally, Jack Donnelly analyzes the evolving role of state power in filtering the impact of globalization on human rights.



This introduction has begun to lay out some of the patterns of the human rights impact of globalization. Taken together, the essays in this volume help to answer the other questions that frame the inquiry. The contributors show how globalization generates both threats and opportunities for human rights, and many assess new forms of human rights accountability.

Like so many other studies of human rights, this one must conclude that the effectiveness of both new and old human rights mechanisms is "half full." Transnational advocacy, international law, sanctions, intervention, media campaigns, lobbying states, and empowering victims does make a difference across borders as within them. Migrants' rights may improve, markets can be better monitored, international organizations may become more accountable, intervention can restrain or remove abusive power holders or combatants. But these improvements are uneven, and the new range of global threats is not matched by the new global opportunities.

We argue that these differences in threat and response can be better understood in terms of the type of globalization, the kind of rights affected, and the filtering role of the state. Ultimately, this differentiated approach should allow a more differentiated response to new challenges. It may also move analysis of globalization beyond reflexive condemnation or enthusiasm, largely rooted in preexisting perspectives, toward a theoretical appreciation of a multivalent social process in its own terms.

The improvement of human rights requires strengthening existing mechanisms to confront new challenges, but also addressing the second half of our mandate: increasing the influence of human rights on globalization. Among other things, this means improving awareness and analysis of the connections between different kinds of rights, the distinct facets and implications of globalization, and the new forms of communication and governance necessary to meet the new challenges. The essays in this volume point the way toward that goal. The concluding analysis will attempt to sketch the implications of such a program for the theory and the practice of globalization.



Versions of this chapter have been presented at the American Political Science Association's 1999 meeting and the January 2000 conference on Globalization and Human Rights at University of California Irvine, funded by the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation. The author wishes to thank participants in both conferences, and especially Jack Donnelly, for constructive comments that have influenced the concepts and analysis presented here.

1While the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 have slowed certain globalization flows in the short run, the shape and long-term trend of globalization remain significant.

2 Scholte 1996b also reminds us that recognition of globalization does not require it to have touched all actors, replaced the state, become the primary motor of international relations, unfolded in a linear fashion, or guaranteed equal access to new world orders (45).

3Kudrle 1999, which also postulates communications, market, and "direct" (mainly global governance) forms of globalization, labels human rights a "globalism-enhanced psychological externality" (18).

4I am grateful to Gerson Shafir for this suggestion.

5Thanks to Sharon McConnell for this observation.

6This is not an inevitable or structural phenomenon but a contingent development of historical legacy with state strategies and identities. For example, while Singapore and Taiwan have pursued similar paths of political economy based on initial authoritarianism, Taiwan has opted to expand social consensus and the rule of law to full democratization and position itself as a beacon of democracy (Tan 1999).