The Power and Potential of Freedom of Association

This paper traces the right to freedom of association in comparative perspective, with a view to understanding and evaluating how effectively it protects the rights of social groups to pursue their own lawful purposes. Since comparative research on the contours of the right to freedom of association is very thin on the ground, the paper provides some original insights at that level. However, at a deeper level, the paper also aims to explore the tension between, on the one hand, freedom of association understood qua liberal right and therefore essentially aimed at protecting the individual in her sociality and, on the other hand, freedom of association understood with a greater feminist sensibility which is aimed at protecting and promoting relationships of care which provide social capital.