Special focus on Legal Mobilization

Journal of Human Rights Practice
Duck-Rabbit illusion - the mind's eye1892

Dr Jeff Handmaker explores different world views and vocabularies that legal scholars and legal practitioners as well as social scientists and social activists use in explaining and practising law-based advocacy. 

In his introductory article in the special edition of the Journal of Human Rights, he underlines the importance of such distinctions in conceptualizing and analysing law-based advocacy and the many forms that legal mobilization adopts.

Read the introductory article - 'Introduction to the legal mobilization special focus' (open access)

The Special Focus further includes an article by Handmaker and Professor. Sanne Taekema of Erasmus School of Law that looks at Sinti and Travellers' rights, and analysing the use of law as a form of counter-power, including the path-breaking work of the Public Interest Litigation Project.

Read the article - 'O Lungo Drom: Legal mobilization as counterpower' (open access)

This Special Focus is one of the outcomes of a 2020-21 Theme Group on Legal Mobilization at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies and the Legal Mobilization Project at the ISS.

Other contributions to the journal

The Special Focus includes two other articles by researchers connected to the Legal Mobilization: Analyzing law-based advocacy research project. These are not available via Open Access.

  • Thandiwe Matthews, a human rights lawyer and joint candidate in the ISS – Wits School of Law doctoral programme; her contribution presents a comprehensive literature review on legal mobilization research.
  • Jackie Dugard of Columbia University and the University of the Witwatersrand takes on struggles over water rights in comparative perspective, applying a power-pack analysis.


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