News from Mar 22, 2016
Keck and Sikkink’s boomerang model (1998) and Risse, Ropp, and Sikkink’s spiral model (1999) anchor much of the scholarly debate about human rights norms propagation. At the heart of both models is “information exchange” among members of broad coalitions advocating for better compliance with human rights norms. An updated spiral model (2013) offers a more liminal, ambiguous, and conditional set of actors and processes than appeared in the first boomerang and spiral models. In this context, we consider the effects of a wide array of digital technologies on human rights NGOs advocacy work and how they affect 21st century information exchange. Traditionally, evidence in human rights investigations is collected in face-to-face meetings among activists and on fact-finding missions. We argue that clusters of digital technologies create “digital affordances” that provide nonstate actors with tools that strengthen their ability to gather scientifically grounded information that pressures noncompliant actors toward commitments with broadly shared human rights norms. As to whether this also leads to greater compliance is less clear.