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Scope Methods Essay

1389 words - 6 pages

In 1999 the editors of The Persistent Power of Human Rights co-edited another book entitled The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. In the 1999 book, the editors developed the spiral model with the purpose to understand the conditions under which international human rights regimes and the principals, norms, and rules embedded in them are internalized and implemented domestically and how this affects political transformation processes (Sikkink, Risse, and Ropp 3). Building upon the boomerang effect by Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, the spiral model incorporates theories about causal relationships between state and non-state actors (Sikkink, Risse, and Ropp ...view middle of the document...

The editors then use scope conditions to specify the conditions under which the four social mechanisms would induce compliance. The scope conditions are as follows: the different types of states regimes, the degree of material vulnerability, and the degree of social vulnerability to external and domestic pressures of states and other rule targets. In order to determine whether rights can be promoted with some success in the circumstances that lie beyond the range of the model’s scope conditions, two essential scope conditions are regime types, specifically democratic and authoritarian regimes, and the degree of social vulnerability.
According to the editors, regime type matters greatly when discussing countries that are more likely to comply with human rights practices. In general, democratic regimes comply more than authoritarian regimes:
The original spiral model was developed and applied only to states with authoritarian and repressive regimes. We asked under what conditions a combination of external and internal mobilization of advocacy networks would bring about greater liberalization and respect for human rights within these regimes. The empirical case studies then showed that improvements of an authoritarian country’s human rights record almost always resulted from regime change and democratization processes (Morocco being the one exception, see Gränzer 1999). Subsequent quantitative research also demonstrated that countries with democratic regimes are much more likely to comply with human rights norms than authoritarian ones (Sikkink, Risse, and Ropp 16).

As states become more democratized the move from commitment to compliance at a faster rate than their authoritarian or repressive counterparts. This begs the question: outside of the scope of democracy are there any cases in which rights can be promoted in an authoritarian or repressive regime?
Examining the “one exception” Morocco, it seems that even within a non-democratic regime, human rights can still be promoted. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy, centrally ruled by a king who holds extensive powers of legislation and is not accountable to law (Gränzer 117). In Morocco, human rights were embraced. Rather than believing human rights were aligned with Western beliefs, the Morocco regime considered these norms compatible with Islamic culture, including in some cases, Islamic religion (Gränzer 109). Morocco recognized human rights as universal values that could be used as a moral reference system to criticize state behavior. As a result of this mindset Morocco created transnational cooperation and gave rise to the emergence of transnational human rights networks, “in Morocco, the change was brought about by an ongoing process of domestic and international mobilization channeled through the transnational human rights network, which finally persuaded the king to introduce institutional reforms. There reforms resulted in significant improvement of the human rights situation in...

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