Taking root: Human rights and public opinion in the global south

James Ron, Shannon Golden, David Crow, Archana Pandya

Research output: Book/ReportBook

6 Scopus citations


The number of rights organizations worldwide has grown exponentially, as the term “human rights” becomes increasingly common among politicians and civil society activists. As international donors pour money into global human rights promotion, many governments-as well as scores of scholars and activists-fear a subtle, Western-led campaign for political, economic, and cultural domination. This book asks: What do publics in the global South think? Drawing on surveys in India, Mexico, Morocco, and Nigeria, the book finds most people are in fact broadly supportive of human rights discourse, trust local, rights-promoting organizations, and do not view human rights as a tool of foreign powers. Pro-human rights constituencies, rather, tend to be highly skeptical of the U.S. government, of multinational corporations, and of their own governments. However, this generalized public support for the human rights “brand” is not grounded in strong commitments of public effort or money, or in dense social ties to the nongovernmental rights sector. Publics in the global South rarely give to their local rights groups, and few local rights organizations attempt to raise funds apart from foreign aid. This strategy is becoming increasingly untenable as governments crack down on foreign aid to civil society. The book also analyzes the complex relationships between religion and human rights, finding that public or social elements of religiosity are often associated with less support for human rights organizations. Personal religiosity, on the other hand, is often associated with more human rights support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages260
ISBN (Electronic)9780199975044
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Global South
  • Human rights
  • International aid
  • NGOs
  • Social movements

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Taking root: Human rights and public opinion in the global south'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this