Rights and Social Movements in the United States

By Marianne Debouzy

The paper starts from the centrality of the “language of rights” in American society and culture. It examines their definition, their sources, the evolution of their content at different times, and the creation of “new rights” since the 1970s. It raises questions such as: What does this new “rights consciousness”, and the intense judiciary activity it has generated, tell us about the evolution of society? Has the relationship between political and judiciary power changed? It posits that the articulation between rights and social movements is complex and contradictory because of the ambivalence of the law.


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