How can "Speaking Rights to Power" construct political will to respond to human rights abuse worldwide? Examining dozens of cases of human rights campaigns, this book shows how carefully crafted communications build recognition, solidarity, and social change. Alison Brysk presents an innovative analysis of the politics of persuasion, based in the strategic use of voice, framing, media, protest performance, and audience bridging. Building on twenty years of research on five continents, this comprehensive study ranges from Aung San Suu Kyi to Anna Hazare, from Congo to Colombia, and from the Arab Spring to Pussy Riot. It includes both well-chronicled campaigns, such as the struggle to end violence against women, as well as lesser-known efforts, including inter-ethnic human rights alliances in the U.S. Brysk compares relatively successful human rights campaigns with unavailing struggles. Grounding her analysis in the concrete practice of human rights campaigns, she lays out testable strategic guidance for human rights advocates.
Speaking Rights to Power addresses cutting edge debates on human rights and the ethic of care, cosmopolitanism, charismatic leadership, communicative action and political theater, and the role of social media. It draws on constructivist literature from social movement and international relations theory, and it analyzes human rights as a form of global social imagination. Combining a normative contribution with judicious critique, this book shows not only that human rights rhetoric matters-but how to make it matter more.