Human rights discourse in domestic settings: How does it emerge?

Neve Gordon, Nitza Berkovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Building on the literature that analyzes the impact of norms and ideas on international and domestic politics, it is our assumption that the widespread introduction and dissemination of a human rights discourse enables oppressed groups to translate events into rights language and to appeal to courts, politicians and media in order to seek remedies for their grievances. In so far as human rights discourse actually helps introduce more ethical policies and legislation, it is crucial to understand how this discourse, which in the past 55 years evolved and proliferated on the global level, emerges and develops in domestic settings. Using Israel as a case study, and more specifically analyzing the Israeli press, we further develop some of the existing theoretical claims about how the global and local interact. We argue that in order to understand how the rights discourse is imported into the domestic arena and how it expands once it enters the local scene, it is crucial to employ a broader conception of the global and a more differentiated view of the local. We emphasize the significance of local events and practices in determining the impact of the global on national settings, suggesting that one cannot understand transnational flows without unveiling the black box of the domestic arena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-266
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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