SIID Research Associate Lorenza Fontana will provide insights into the relationship between social movements and human rights.

Her paper will be presented within the panel Social Movement Dynamics: New Perspectives on Theory and Research from Latin America: Wed, May 27, 12:00 to 1:45pm


Advocacy and Resistance: The Ambivalent Relationship of Social Movements with International Human Rights Law 


Human rights agreements have multiplied especially since the 1980s alongside democratization and a more liberal global political economy. In Latin America, international conventions have become a crucial advocacy tool for civil society in its struggle to ensure justice for the crimes committed during the dictatorships. In general, most scholars view social movements as key actors for the success of international law domestically. Yet we know very little about outcomes when social movements contest the value of the global norms or refuse to stand together behind them. The post-neoliberal turn in Latin America coincided with a different, more skeptical, attitude with respect to international law, and offers some interesting examples of human rights that have been contested and triggered divisions among domestic social movements (instead of consolidating advocacy coalitions). Relying on the empirically grounded analysis of two contested sets of rights (the 169 Conventions on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples and the 182 Convention on the Eradication of the Worst forms of Child Labor), the paper addresses the theoretical limitations of functionalist and normative approaches to collective action and proposes an alternative perspective to understand the ambivalent relationships between social movements and human rights.


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