Introduction: “You, Elie Wiesel, and Paris Hilton”
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Human rights advocacy integrates mass media and popular culture as central strategic features of outreach, fund-raising, and movement-building efforts. What was an agitated rallying cry for fairness and justice is now also a key component of the mainstream moral imagination. Particularly as embodied in the work of major transnational nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), human rights have become integrated as products of privileged lifestyles, accommodating rather than challenging structures of inequality. To engage in human rights advocacy today is to participate in a practice once proprietary to iconoclasts and lawyers but now subsumed within daily rituals of consumers and television audiences. The practice has in fact been incorporated into habits of average individuals in a way that makes the performance commonplace and undisruptive to everyday life.