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Testing Dembour’s four-school human rights model in a social grouping

In 2010 Marie-Benedicte Dembour published an article entitled ‘What are Human Rights? Four Schools of Thought’ in Human Rights Quarterly. Her model posits that we do not all conceive of human rights in the same way, but that there are four main conceptions of human rights. She proposes that those who hold a ‘natural’ view of human rights conceive of them as given, those who hold a ‘deliberative’ view as agreed upon, those with a ‘protest’ view as fought for, and those with a ‘discourse’ school as talked about. The model has been very well received and is used by many human rights lecturers around the world. The student choosing this project will empirically test how the model resonates with a group of people known to them (e.g. fellow students, family members, leisure group) and critically assess its usefulness for advancing our understanding of what human rights law provides.


This is the selection process of prof. Marie-Bénédicte Dembour:

Places will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.

Students interested in a particular topic are welcomed to contact Prof Dembour by email (mariebene.dembour[@]

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