Journal Article

Values in Practice: Dilemmas and Deliberations of Israeli Human Rights Organizations

Noam Hofstadter

in Journal of Human Rights Practice

Volume 6, issue 3, pages 422-450
Published in print November 2014 | ISSN: 1757-9619
Published online December 2014 | e-ISSN: 1757-9627 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhuman/huu020
Values in Practice: Dilemmas and Deliberations of Israeli Human Rights Organizations

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The article identifies interesting connections between the organizational values of activists in Israeli human rights organizations, their concepts of human rights activism, and their organizational conduct. It is derived from the author's PhD thesis which included empirical research by means of 60 semi-structured interviews with activists and members from all ranks of three Israeli human and civil rights organizations. Organizational values are discussed mainly through interviewees' reports of central organizational dilemmas and the way they are handled by each organization. Organizational values and the corresponding perceptions of ‘good’ human rights work are found to differ between organizations. However, the study also finds great similarities across organizations as activists are found to share similar dilemmas, images of ‘success’ (first and foremost: an improvement of the condition of human rights), evaluations of organizational successfulness (mostly: unsuccessful), and also some common difficulties in activism. When motivations for action are explored, personal and collective biographies seem intertwined with the desire to change the de facto situation of human rights. This mixture of motivations is then utilized to challenge the dichotomy between ‘expressive’ and ‘instrumental’ action that is commonly used in research of non-profit action.

Keywords: Human rights organizations; non-profit; social action; values

Journal Article.  12345 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates ; Human Rights and Immigration ; Human Rights ; Politics ; Social Movements and Social Change

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