Jeong-Woo Koo (2017) The construction of human rights actorhood: Findings from the Korean General Social Survey, Journal of Human Rights, 16:3, 261-275, DOI: 10.1080/14754835.2016.1236330
This article investigates the sources of human rights “actorhood”—the extent to which people understand, support and implement human rights—by examining a novel human rights survey that was embedded in the 2011 Korean General Social Survey. My research uses ordinary-least-squares regression analyses to explore the factors that lead to individual differences in awareness and engagement. I employ four broad theoretical frameworks to explain the determinants of human rights orientations: realism, cultural factors, psychology, and world polity. My results suggest that multiple theoretical frameworks collectively contribute to a better grasp of what shapes human rights actorhood in South Korea. In particular, global polity and psychological elements have strong effects on awareness and engagement, while human rights education, religion, and socioeconomic factors have less of an effect than we might assume. This article emphasizes the importance of human agency, suggesting that the analysis of individual human rights orientations can help to bolster both awareness of and engagement in the global human rights movement.