Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012

Publication Citation

19 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 495 (2012)


In responding to David Engel's Article, this Comment analyzes how Engel situates contemporary perspectives on rights drawing from his research in Thailand. Engel shows how the discourse of rights carries with it meanings that have multiple and changing connotations and on the ground effects. Following on Engel's questions about how consciousness of rights spreads and takes shape in local contexts, this Comment calls for expanding the substantive and methodological bases for understanding the changing effects of rights discourses. This Comment suggests that a study of the broader social and political implications, including the costs, of rights discourses (internationally, nationally, and locally) permits greater substantive awareness of the changing social and political landscapes. This can only be done with the kind of on-the-ground longitudinal study that Engel has conducted.