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The Standing of Economic rights: A Brazilian case study

COSTA-ESTEVES-COUTINHO, MARINA (2021) The Standing of Economic rights: A Brazilian case study. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 10 January 2025.


Research about economic rights has become ever more relevant as the numbers of those suffering from poverty, social inequality and austerity policies increases. Economic rights have been the focus of revived debates in recent years in academic and legal contexts.
How are economic rights understood by different actors that are responsible for applying them, and how do these different understandings affect the effectiveness and applicability of these rights? These are the questions that this thesis seeks to answer, using an innovative approach. This thesis explores the understandings of economic rights held by politicians, administrative and juridical officials within government, and civil society actors. These are the primary actors responsible for applying economic rights within the national system. The thesis also examines the consequences that their interpretation has on the implementation and protection framework. It is an innovative approach since existing research on economic rights does not study how the understanding of these actors affects the application and effectiveness of the rights.
To understand why economic rights struggle to be implemented in practice it is necessary to question these participants on what they understand economic rights to be, why are they so difficult to achieve, and how cultural expectations affect their realisation. Therefore, this research brings to light the interpretation of those who are responsible for applying and protecting these rights, and consequently, emphasize the importance that these interpretations have on the whole economic rights system.
Brazil was chosen to be the case study for this thesis because it is a country with unprecedented natural resources and wealth, entrenched inequality, and a Constitution that significantly and materially safeguards socioeconomic rights. Thus, the recognition and protection of these rights that are embedded in the Brazilian Constitution creates an inclusive and emancipatory legal order based on human dignity. Yet, in societies that are rooted in slavery and exploitation, the constructed cultural history comes from the perspective of elites, implicating the understanding of rights through the lens of that group. Hence, the present research intends to understand how these subjects interfere in the standing of economic rights.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Economic rights Human Rights social justice
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Jan 2022 14:42

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