Category: Social Theory

The Dock on Trial: Courtroom Design and the Presumption of Innocence

A recent article in the Journal of Law and Society examines the place of the criminal dock in courtroom design. Courtrooms may appear to embody immemorial tradition, an impression reinforced by the use of arcane rituals and archaic costumes. On closer inspection, however, courtroom designs can be seen to respond to contemporary influences – pressures of time and budgets, changing attitudes to human rights, security fears, and the interests of professional groups. Where different participants sit in the criminal courtroom...

Development and Human Rights

In the last decade of the 20th century, development thinking shifted from a growth oriented model to the concept of human development as a process of enhancing human capabilities. This paradigmatic shift, articulated in the writings of Amartya Sen, moves beyond growth of income and captures the quality of growth in terms of social and human development and the meaningful participation of, and fair distribution of benefits for all concerned. The United Nations took up this approach with the Human...