In this special issue, four essays draw on distinct traditions in law, literary studies, history, and anthropology to explore international human rights law through a lens rarely used in this domain—that of ritual. This introductory essay explains the significance of collective rituals as socially structuring events that embody power relations. It considers the role of ritual in instigating or strengthening community, and as a mode of governance that may circumvent the emergence of more violent regimes. It discusses how law generally is authorized and entrenched through rituals, and shows how human rights law relies particularly heavily on them.
Benjamin Authers, Hilary Charlesworth, Marie-Bénédicte Dembour and Emma Larking, “Introduction” Humanity 9.1 (2018): 63-74.