Culture Workshop

Event Date: 

Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 3:30pm to 4:45pm

Event Date Details: 

Meetings will be held on Zoom from 3:30-4:45 PM PST on Thursdays unless otherwise noted. The workshop is open to all faculty and graduate students. Attendees are expected to read the paper in advance of the workshop. The Zoom link will be circulated to the listserv before each meeting and available on the department calendar. To be added to the listserv, please email or join on Google Groups.

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 867 7694 7694



Jeffrey Swindle, UT Austin

Human Rights Enculturation: Information Brokers and Gender Violence Campaigns in Malawi

Please note that there will be no paper for this workshop. Instead, we will base our discussion on Jeffrey's presentation of his findings. The abstract is below. 
Abstract: Donors support human rights campaigns worldwide that often aim to enculturate people to liberal cultural scripts. I argue that the nature of human rights enculturation hinges on the information brokers situated between donors and recipients. I use a mixed methods approach to examine the case of gender violence campaigns in Malawi. Qualitative process-tracing reveals two distinct campaigns: in one, activists shared anti-violence cultural scripts with citizens, while in the other intergovernmental organizations supported local authorities’ power to manage cases of abuse. I link geographic data for disbursements for the two campaigns to four national surveys to estimate each campaign’s effects. Activist campaigns increased people’s probability of stated support for women’s physical and sexual autonomy, women’s disclosure of physical abuse, and women’s ability to refuse sex. Conversely, campaigns that reaffirmed the power of local authorities decreased stated support for women’s autonomy. These differences derive from how the Malawian information brokers involved interpreted and disseminated anti-violence scripts. For activists, “violence” meant a restriction of personal agency, whereas local authorities considered the breaking of social responsibilities as abusive. The findings demonstrate the pivotal role of information brokers during human rights enculturation.