A growing number of human rights NGOs have placed international volunteers in conflict zones from Guatemala and Colombia to Palestine and Iraq. This study samples from contemporary high-risk transnational activists and highlights the variation in biographical steps taken toward the shared outcome of participation in human rights work (HRW). Data was collected through 6 weeks of participant observation in Israel-Palestine, 21 in-depth interviews, and 28 shorter focused interviews with human rights workers (N=49). Oversampling from the International Solidarity Movement reveals how the unique constraints and opportunities presented by a particular conflict zone and NGO culture impacts self-selection into HRW. Grounded theory and Boolean methodology aided in identifying four main pathways (the nonviolent activist, peace church, anarchist, and solidarity pathways) to HRW as well as biographical patterns and complexities that have been underemphasized in the existing literature. These include the salience of transformative events and attitude changes in the process of constructing a cosmopolitan identity and committing to high-risk transnational activism.
Eddy, M. (2010), "Freedom summer abroad: Biographical pathways and cosmopolitanism among international human rights workers", Coy, P. (Ed.) Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 31), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 209-258. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-786X(2011)0000031010Download as .RIS
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