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    ‘In countries like that. . .’ moral boundaries and implicatory denial in response to human rights appeals

    Seu, Irene Bruna (2012) ‘In countries like that. . .’ moral boundaries and implicatory denial in response to human rights appeals. The International Journal of Human Rights 16 (8), pp. 1-13. ISSN 1364-2987.

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    This paper discusses audiences’ responses to information about human rights violations, with a focus on the use of the trope ‘in countries like that’ to describe countries where atrocities are committed. The paper presents a discursive analysis of how this trope is used to make sense of atrocities, to draw symbolic moral boundaries and to justify a passive and self-distancing response to human rights issues. By placing countries where human rights are violated beyond the boundary of moral responsibility, accounts containing this trope perform a denial operation for the purpose of exonerating audiences from intervening. It is suggested that this operation of moral exclusion interferes with audiences’ empathy and compassion by distancing audiences from the victims of atrocities. The insights from the analysis of this type of human rights practice are relevant to human rights practitioners and sociologists alike. Keywords: moral boundaries; human rights appeals; distancing; denial; moral responsibility; audience studies


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): moral boundaries, human rights appeals, distancing, denial, moral responsibility, audience studies
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MAMSIE), Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Bruna Seu
    Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2013 10:58
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:01


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