Author Archives: Samuel Martinez

About Samuel Martinez

is a cultural anthropologist who teaches anthropology and Latin American studies at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of two ethno-graphic monographs and several peer-reviewed articles on the migration and labor and minority rights of Haitian nationals and people of Haitian ancestry in the Dominican Republic. He is also editor of International Migration and Human Rights (California, 2009). In his current research and writing, he brings critical scrutiny to northern human rights solidarity with Haitian-ancestry people in the Dominican Republic between 1978 and the present.

From Commoditizing to Commodifying Human Rights: Research on Forced Labor in Dominican Sugar Production

In this essay, “commoditization” and “commodification” refer to two distinguishable aspects of the relationship between human rights knowledge and the commodity form. Commoditization happens when human rights is marketed like a commodity, whether by packaging information in standardized and easily consumed numbers, icons, and graphics or “branding” human rights–monitoring organizations and their campaigns. Commodification happens when human rights information actually becomes a commodity, such as when rights investigations are done under contract, at times through international information supply chains, while possibly also subject to intellectual property restrictions. While commoditization is an Continue reading → Continue reading →