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Human Rights and Social Justice

Human Rights and Social Justice
Social Action and Service for the Helping and Health Professions

Second Edition

July 2016 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Offering a unique perspective that views human rights as the foundation of social justice, Joseph Wronka’s groundbreaking text outlines human rights and social justice concerns as a powerful conceptual framework for policy and practice interventions for the helping and health professions. This highly accessible, interdisciplinary text urges the creation of a human rights culture as a “lived awareness” of human rights principles, including human dignity, nondiscrimination, civil and political rights, economic, social, and cultural rights, and solidarity rights. The Second Edition includes numerous social action activities and questions for discussion to help scholars, activists, and practitioners promote a human rights culture and the overall well-being of populations across the globe.

Intended Audience
This text is applicable for courses in social work, psychology, sociology, public health, law, medicine, philosophy, political science, as well as “newer” disciplines like peace studies, world citizenship, and environmental sustainability. Scholars, activists, and practitioners will find it a valuable reference for years to come.

Cited as one of the great books for Social Workers!

Part I: Human Rights as the Bedrock of Social Justice
Chapter 1: Introduction
Rationale for This Work

Toward the Creation of a Human Rights Culture

Five Core Notions of Human Rights

Social Justice as Struggle

Some Initial Provisos for the Human Rights Defender

Political Argument--Don't Be Fooled


Questions for Discussion



Chapter 2: Before and Beyond the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Toward a History of the Idea of Human Rights


The Middle Ages

The Renaissance

The Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Industrialization

Select Input Prior to the Endorsement of the Universal Declaration

Select Core Principles of Some Major Human Rights Documents

Other Human Rights Regimes


Universal Periodic Review (UPR)


Questions for Discussion



Part II: Building from the Foundation
Chapter 3: An Advanced Generalist/Public Health Model and Whole Population Approaches to Human Rights and Social Justice
A Helping and Health Profession Model of Intervention

Levels of Intervention

The Struggle to Implement Levels of Intervention

Education Toward the Creation of a Human Rights Culture

Commemorating Major International Days

Proclamations, Resolutions, Declarations, and Bills

Providing NGO Input

The Arts, Human Rights, and Social Justice

Other Select Direct Nonviolent Strategies


Questions for Discussion



Chapter 4: At-Risk and Clinical Social Action and Service Strategies Toward the Creation of a Human Rights Culture
The Helping and Health Professions as an At-Risk Group

Business and Human Rights

Humanistic Administration

Social Entrepreneurship

Grant Writing

Principles for the Protection of Persons With Mental Illness

Toward a Socially Just Human Rights–Based Approach to Clinical Practice

Human Rights Principles That Have Implications for the Therapeutic Relationship

Some Words on the Meta-Micro Level


Questions for Discussion



Chapter 5: A Human Rights/Social Justice Approach to Research-Action Projects for the Helping and Health Professions
Human Rights Documents as a Means of Defining the Problem

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Project

Toward a Culture of Informed Consent

Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research

Research Leading to Social Action


Questions for Discussion



Chapter 6: Ground Rules
Toward the Paradoxical Commandments

Some Ground Rules for Social Action and Service


Questions for Discussion



Chapter 7: Redux: A Human Rights/Social Justice Approach to Policy Assessment and Direct Non-Violent Social Action
The World Drug Problem

Chapter as a Synopsis

Steps Actually a Misnomer

A Human Rights/Social Justice Approach to Policy Assessment and Direct Non-Violent Action as Pertaining to Illicit Drug Abuse



Instructor Resources

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It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site at for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources for Wronka, Human Rights and Social Justice, 2e. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title!

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.

“Many UN experts and human rights activists worldwide warmly welcome the publication of the Second Edition of Dr. Wronka’s Human Rights and Social Justice, an inspiring if not brilliant work . . . Written for the educated layperson, it builds on the momentum it began in the original edition, excellently integrating both theory and practice, in this case, for the helping and health professions, but in ways that could also have implications for other traditional academic disciplines and ‘newer’ ones like peace and environmental studies, world citizenship, and global distributive justice.”

Alfred de Zayas
United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

Human Rights and Social Justice is a compendium of ideas, reflections, strategies, and insights—a great resource for learners and enjoyable read for the curious.” 

Ana M. Sobocan
University of Ljubljana

“Joseph Wronka is truly a social work scholar and visionary of integrating human rights in the helping and health professions. His transdisciplinary approach offers a tangible model to realizing rights for all people in all places.” 

Tina Maschi
Fordham University

“A must-read for anyone in the helping professions who is interested in human rights and social justice.”

Margaret Lombe
Boston College

“The background and history of human rights is superior to other textbooks that I have seen in this area.”

Jessica Jablonski
Walden University

This book is a must for those who are working to make human rights an overarching way of life around the world.

Shulamith Koenig
Founding President of the People's Decade for Human Rights Learning and Recipient of the 2003 United Nations Human Rights Award and 2011 Mikhail Gorbachev Human Rights Award

For what this class required, this was a great introductory text. I appreciated the rich history and practical examples of where human right have been successfully (attempted) to be implemented. I appreciated the diversity of examples as well - across the world.

Dr Julie Goodman-Bowling
Anthropology Dept, California Baptist University
January 12, 2021
Key features

  • An updated foreword written by Dr. David Gil, Professor Emeritus of Brandeis University, sheds light on assertions of humanity’s current state and its possible future.
  • A preface reflecting recent global changes includes the continuing spread of exotic diseases, environmental degradation, the world refugee crisis, and growing inequality.
  • Coverage of two new major human rights documents summarizes the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Final Draft of the Guiding Principles to Eradicate Extreme Poverty.
  • Updated examples explore implementation mechanisms, such as world conferences, special rapporteurs, and human rights reports, and a new section on the UN’s Universal Periodic Review.
  • Updated practice illustrations of global interventions include four of the author's oral interventions before the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the rights of peasants, the world drug abuse problem, the efficacy of the Universal Periodic Review (especially as pertaining to the USA), and a written intervention on eradicating extreme poverty.
  • A new chapter on world drug abuse provides a human rights/social justice approach to policy analysis/assessment within an advanced generalist/public health perspective and poses direct non-violent social action to help resolve this problem.
  • Further discussion on cultural relativism and a new section on political argument help scholar-activists evaluate and recognize purportedly objective policy analyses.
  • A call to action regarding the US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities is included and compared to the American with Disabilities Act.
  • An expanded appendix includes a comparison of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the United States Constitution and portions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan where the author served as a Fulbright Scholar.
  • An epilogue by Alfred de Zayas, United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, urges governmental accountability to UN human rights principles.

  • Historical, philosophical, and theological perspectives on human rights principles are presented with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the centerpiece of the Human Rights Triptych, flanked by human rights conventions on the right and implementation mechanisms on the left.
  • A multi-pronged approach to address the struggle for social justice is advocated, including dealing with global (meta-macro), whole population (macro), at-risk (mezzo), clinical (micro), and everyday life or interpersonal (meta-micro) interventions.
  • A succinct summary of the core principles of other major human rights documents includes international conventions on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR); the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD); the Rights of the Child (CRC); Torture (CAT); the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); the Final Draft of the Guiding Principles to Eradicate Extreme Poverty; the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Medical Ethics; and the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness.
  • Discussions of crucial topics explore social actions such as human rights education, resolutions, and bills; the arts and the media; humanistic administration; grant writing; social entrepreneurship; clinical interventions; and quantitative and qualitative research that can promote human dignity and development.
  • An example of policy analysis and assessment using human rights/social justice principles to deal with the problem of world drug use, particularly illicit drug use.
  • Tables and a glossary succinctly summarize major points discussed throughout the book.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483387185

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