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Staggs Kelsall, M (2018). From a Stark Utopia to Everyday Utopias. German Yearbook of International Law, 60(1), 575-606. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.60.1.575
Staggs Kelsall, Michelle (2018). "From a Stark Utopia to Everyday Utopias" German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 60no. 1, 2018 pp. 575-606. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.60.1.575
Staggs Kelsall, M (2018). From a Stark Utopia to Everyday Utopias. German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 60 (Issue 1), pp 575-606. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.60.1.575

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From a Stark Utopia to Everyday Utopias

Staggs Kelsall, Michelle

German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 60 (2018), Iss. 1 : pp. 575–606

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Michelle Staggs Kelsall, Lecturer in Public International Law and International Human Rights Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Abstract

This article considers the emergence of the Business and Human Rights agenda at the United Nations (UN). 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.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Michelle Staggs Kelsall: From a Stark Utopia to Everyday Utopias 1
I. Introduction 2
II. The Emergence of the Business and Human Rights Agenda 6
A. The Business and Human Rights Agenda 6
B. The United Nations Global Compact and the Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises 7
C. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 9
III. Conceptual Underpinnings of the BHR Agenda: From Embedded Liberalism to Embedded Pragmatism 1
A. Embedded Liberalism Part I: The Post-World War II Economic Order 1
B. Embedded Liberalism Part II: Embedding Legitimate Social Purpose in the Global Public Domain 1
C. The Limits of Embedded Liberalism: Polanyi’s Stark Utopia, Laissez-Faire Markets, and the Global Public Domain 1
IV. The UN Guiding Principles and the Shift Toward Embedded Pragmatism 2
A. Embedded Pragmatism, the UN Guiding Principles, and the Forum for Business and Human Rights 2
B. Evidence of Everyday Utopias: Human Rights Due Diligence Processes 2
C. From the Quotidian to Crisis: Salient Human Rights Issues 3
V. Conclusion 3