Rhetoric in Human Rights Advocacy

Rhetoric in Human Rights Advocacy : A Study of Exemplars

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This book examines the rhetoric of various "exemplars" who advocate for causes and actions pertaining to human rights in particular contexts. Although some of these exemplars champion human rights, others are human rights antagonists. Simply put, the argument here is that concern for how particular individuals advocate for human rights causes-as well as how antagonists obstruct such initiatives-adds significant value to understanding the successes and failures of human rights efforts in particular cultural and national contexts. On one hand, we can grasp how specific international organizations and actors function to develop norms (for example, the rights of the child) and how rights are subsequently articulated in universal declarations and formal codes. But on the other, it becomes apparent that the actual meaning of those rights mutate when "accepted" within particular cultures. A complementary facet of this argument relates to the centrality of rhetoric in observing how rights advocates function in practice; specifically, rhetoric focuses upon the art of argumentation and the various strategies and techniques enlisted therein.
In that much of the "reality" surrounding human rights (from the standpoints of advocates and antagonists alike) is fundamentally interpretive, rhetorical (or argumentative) skill is of vital importance for advocates as competent pragma-dialecticians in presenting the case that a rights ideal can enhance life in a culture predisposed to reject that ideal. This book includes case studies focusing on the rhetoric of the following individuals or groups as either human rights advocates or antagonists: Mary B. Anderson, Rwandan "hate radio" broadcasters, politicians and military officials connected with the Kent State University and Tiananmen Square student protest tragedies, Iqbal Masih, Pussy Riot, Lyndon Johnson, Julian Assange, Geert Wilders, Daniel Barenboim, Joe Arpaio, and Lucius Banda.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 282 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 22.86mm | 544.31g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 8 Tables, unspecified; 2 Charts
  • 0739193937
  • 9780739193938

Table of contents

1 Introduction: Rhetoric and Human Rights Advocacy 2 Advocacy Rhetoric through Thick and Thin: A Conceptual Backdrop 3 Rhetoric in Moral Crises 4 Rhetoric in Moral Confrontations 5 Rhetoric in Moral Projects 6 Rhetoric in Moral Work 7 Dialectical Human Rights Advocacy
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Review quote

In this work, Ghere examines the rhetoric of human rights advocates and those who attempt to obstruct rights causes and argues that examining advocacy adds to the 'understanding [of] the successes and failures of human rights efforts in particular cultural and national contexts.' The cases chosen focus on praxis and address the rhetorical character of argumentation, the effect of cultural and institutional factors on rhetoric, and whether advocates appear to follow ethical orientations. The author pays particular attention to new rhetoric and the role of audience and context in human rights advocacy. Cases include human rights champions such as Iqbal Masih, Pussy Riot, Julian Assange, and Daniel Barenboim. Human rights antagonists covered include Joe Arpaio and Geert Wilders, among others ... Overall, the work allows readers to think more deeply about how human rights work is done in practice rather than as a theoretical construct. The author's rhetorical analysis highlights the importance of communication in the (re)construction of ideas, values, and norms at the local level. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. CHOICE Richard K. Ghere has written an important new book that makes a significant theoretical contribution to the literature on human rights. Grounded in a rhetorical approach, the book discusses human rights advocacy as a practice. Case vignettes of human rights examplars yield a rich tapestry of the multiple approaches of human rights practitioners. Speaking in a world in which so many dimensions of human inequality have exacerbated the barriers to any robust regime of human rights, Ghere's book offers multiple hopeful avenues around, over and through some of these barriers. -- Guy B. Adams, university of missouri This is a deeply impressive book that draws on the author's deep insight into the rhetoric and praxis of human rights advocacy. His expert mediation between the 'thin' conventions of formal human rights abstraction and the 'thick' ethical views arising from diverse cultural discourse allows both scholar and practitioner to discern how the boundaries between advocate and antagonist might be reconciled in order to reach a more enduring commitment to human rights. -- Tom Pegram, University College London Is what we say less important than how we say it? Equipped with the evidence that carefully crafted phrases can shape societal change in ways mere descriptors cannot, Ghere presents a powerful new tool for human rights advocacy. His view of the world will transform yours. -- Carole L. Jurkiewicz, University of Massachusetts, Boston
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About Richard K. Ghere

Richard K. Ghere is associate professor at the University of Dayton where he is a researcher in the Human Rights Center.
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