The conditions for progressive rights to bring about social change Article

Liu, L. (2020). The conditions for progressive rights to bring about social change . 23(3), 222-238. 10.1080/10282580.2020.1783254

cited authors

  • Liu, L



  • One of the major focuses of law and society studies is to illustrate how progressive rights could become an effective agent of progressive social change. Two perspectives of research have emerged in this field, with one underscoring the processual effect of progressive rights and the other highlighting the structural dimension of rights’ effect. Numerous case studies have been done by scholars from either the processual or structural camp. However, limited efforts have been made to evaluate a right’s processual and structural influence simultaneously. The current study fills this literature gap. First, I illustrate the criteria used to evaluate the processual and structural effect of a right, respectively. Then in a case study focusing on Affirmative Action Right, I apply the two sets of criteria in the assessment of the strengths as well as drawbacks of Affirmative Action Right. This study demonstrates that rights’ influence is multi-dimensional, and the structural dimension of influence is contingent on a set of conditions that are distinct from the conditions for the processual level of effect.

publication date

  • July 2, 2020

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 222

end page

  • 238


  • 23


  • 3