Making Human

World Order and the Global Governance of Human Dignity
Matthew S. Weinert
An International Relations scholar examines the processes by which formerly denigrated peoples become recognized as human beings worthy of rights and dignity


Differences between human beings have long been used to justify a range of degrading, exclusionary, and murderous practices that strip people of their humanity and dignity. While considerable scholarship has been devoted to such dehumanization, Matthew S. Weinert asks how we might conceive its reverse—humanization, or what it means to “make human.”

Weinert proposes an account of making human centered on five mechanisms: reflection, recognition, resistance, replication of dominant mores, and responsibility. Examining cases such as the UN Security Council’s engagements with crises and the International Court of Justice’s grappling with Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, he illustrates the distinct and contingent ways these mechanisms have been deployed. Theoretically, the cases evince a complex, evolving relationship between state-centric and human-centric views of society, ultimately revealing the normative potentialities of both.

Though the case studies concern specific human relations issues on an international level, Weinert argues in favor of starting from the shared problem of being human and of living in a world in which the humanity of countless groups has been demeaned or denied. Working outward from that point, he proposes, we obtain a more pragmatically grounded understanding of the social construction of the human being.

“Weinert articulates a novel way of approaching human security and the idea of Otherness that IR could benefit from incorporating.”
—Cecelia Lynch, University of California, Irvine

“Careful, measured, and only very cautiously optimistic, Weinert’s Making Human does not celebrate the progress of humanity toward universal inclusion, but interrogates the discourses and processes which have facilitated the work of ‘making human’ in sociopolitical life. Written with clarity and intelligence, Making Human is an invaluable contribution to the important, ongoing discussions of how we care for one another in the world.”
—Fiona Robinson, Carleton University

Cover photo: Memorial monument to the victims of Communism in Prague (sculptor Olbram Zoubek and architects Jan Kerel and Zdenek Hoelzel). © Vacclav / Shutterstock

Matthew S. Weinert is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware.

Praise / Awards

  • "[Weinert] presents well-selected and convincingly substantiated examples to shed light on hitherto uncovered facets of human security and human rights...Many scholars of international studies may benefit from this work because the content and scope of the new categorical grid is both broad and inspirational."
    --International Studies Review
  • "Explores the processes required to ‘make human’ those hitherto denied a basic level of dignity and respect."
    --Survival: Global Politics and Strategy
  • "A compelling, international relations-based perspective on changes within the international legal and institutional order."
    --Human Rights Review
  • Finalist, ISA Human Rights Section Best Book Award, 2016

Look Inside

Product Details

  • 280 pages.
  • 2 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2015
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12084-0

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

Add to Cart
  • $45.95 U.S.

  • Kindle

Add to Cart

Choosing any of the above format options will take you to the appropriate e-retailer to complete your purchase. Pricing may vary by individual e-retailer. Please see e-retailer site for purchasing information.

For more information about our Digital Products, including reading systems and accessible formats, visit our Digital Products page.

Related Products

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.

Add to Cart
  • $45.95 U.S.



  • Human dignity
    Human rights
    UN Security Council
    International security
    International criminal law
    International Court of Justice
    War crimes