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Kelsall, Michelle (2018) 'From a stark utopia to everyday utopias.' German Yearbook of International Law, 60. pp. 576-607.

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Abstract

This article considers the emergence of the Business and Human Rights agenda at the United Nations. It argues that the agenda can be seen as an example of the UN Human Rights Council attempting to institutionalise everyday utopias within an emerging global public domain. Utilising the concept of embedded pragmatism and tracing the underlying rationale for the emergence of the agenda to the work of Karl Polanyi, the article argues that the Business and Human Rights agenda seeks to institutionalise human rights due diligence processes within transnational corporations in order to create a pragmatic alternative to the stark utopia of laissez-faire liberal markets. It then provides an analytical account of the implications of human rights due diligence for the modes and techniques business utilises to assess human rights harm. It argues that due to the constraints imposed by the concept of embedded pragmatism and the normative indeterminacy of human rights, the Business and Human Rights agenda risks instituting human rights within the corporation through modes and techniques that maintain human rights as a language of crisis, rather than creating the space for novel, everyday utopias to emerge.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Utopia, Karl Polanyi, United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Transnationalism, Embedded Liberalism, Pragmatism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KZ Law of Nations
ISSN: 00213993
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2018 09:53
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/26266
Related URLs: https://elibrar ... ion/b/id/43072/ (Publisher URL)

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