The Transnational Human Rights Review


Willy Mutunga


Human Rights; Human Rights States

Document Type


English Abstract

A human rights state is conceptualized as a liberal democratic state with a social democratic content, the modern day version of the capitalist welfare state. With the “collapses” of communism and neoliberalism, the paradigms of human rights and social justice have taken a center state. The birth of transformative constitutions and transformative constitutionalism linked to modern and comprehensive Bills of Rights have enriched the intellectual, ideological, and political debates of human rights and social justice paradigms. On one hand they have the ingredients of mitigating neo-liberalism while on the other hand they reflect some of the features of the paradigms that critique neoliberalism. Social democracy has thus become the basis of the search for a liberating paradigm in the context of the global order. In this article the conceptualization of human rights state, currently under-theorized, is undertaken. Kenyan transformative Constitution and its development of transformative constitutionalism is the practical case study in this inquiry. The theoretical and practical approach adopted in the article remains politically plausible to the interrogation of the critical contemporary question, namely, whether the paradigms of human rights and social justice can be the basis of fundamental restructuring of societies in the Global South.