Social Rights as a Global Public Good: Development, Human Rights, and Accountability

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Kim, Taekyoon
Issue Date
Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.20 No.2, pp. 21-37
Social RightsAccountabilityDevelopmentGlobal Public GoodsHuman RightsInternational SocietyGlobal Governance
This study is undertaken to tackle the two critical frontlines of global governance for development

aid: (i) translating human rights in the developmental context with the particular emphasis on social

rights as a global public good; and (ii) introducing the accountability mechanism as a practical

alternative to the organizational failure of legalist approaches. In dealing with the social construction

of global governance, the study demonstrates mainly theoretical observations and normative

foundations for advancing social rights as an alternative to blind faiths on the hard-core legalism,

rather than empirical in-depth analyses. International society is characterized by the absence of world

government and no centralized authorities to give sanctions against rule-breakers and also power

relations among states. Power, however, is always legitimate only so long as it serves its original

purposes, which, in the case of human rights, are the protection of rights and the pursuit of the public

good. The manifest lesson from this study is that the new conceptualization of human rights by taking

social rights as its soft substitute and the launching of accountability functions into international

institutions are both socially constructed by the extended interactions of all parties involved in global

governance. Accountability is at the center of institutional processes through which human rights is

conceptually specified as a concrete form of social rights, and the implementation methods are

reformulated from ideational legal measures to a realistic mechanism to hold agencies more

accountable for their activities.
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Dept. of International Studies (국제학과)Journal of International and Area StudiesJournal of International and Area Studies vol.20 (2013)
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