Mark Frezzo


This article examines the uses and limitations of the prevailing classificatory schema in the field of human rights—a tripartite framework that delineates first-generation civil and political rights ensuring liberty, second-generation economic and social rights promoting equality, and third-generation group and cultural rights supporting solidarity. When applied strictly, the framework runs the risk of reifying the three categories, exaggerating the impact of the European Enlightenment on contemporary norms, and overlooking the historical contexts in which rights-claims emerge. Though useful for analytic and pedagogical purposes, the existing paradigm fails to capture the full spectrum of human rights violations and solutions in the contemporary world. More precisely, it fails to account for the intersections among different types of rights. To the end of renovating the paradigm, this article advances the principles of holism, globalism, and historicism as tools for human rights educators.