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Promoting Human Rights in China through Education : An Empirical Impact Evaluation of the Swedish Approach from Student Perspectives

Yeh, Jessica I. (2008)
Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
Abstract
Using a master’s-level human rights program funded by Sweden at Peking University, this case study sought to explore the connection between legal education and social change as influentially advanced by the Law and Development Movement (LDM) and now reflected in various donor-funded law and governance projects in China. To evaluate the program’s underlying assumptions of change, the study examined the program’s impact from the perspectives of its intended beneficiaries, the students, through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and questionnaires. The empirical findings reveal that at the micro, individual level and in the short term, the program has achieved some degree of mental, behavioral, and career impact and exhibits a... (More)
Using a master’s-level human rights program funded by Sweden at Peking University, this case study sought to explore the connection between legal education and social change as influentially advanced by the Law and Development Movement (LDM) and now reflected in various donor-funded law and governance projects in China. To evaluate the program’s underlying assumptions of change, the study examined the program’s impact from the perspectives of its intended beneficiaries, the students, through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and questionnaires. The empirical findings reveal that at the micro, individual level and in the short term, the program has achieved some degree of mental, behavioral, and career impact and exhibits a potential for longer-term social change. But this momentum is likely to be lost because in the larger environment, students face adverse institutional settings and structural incentives that do not support human rights perspectives and practices, such as employers who do not find human rights relevant or valuable and the low pay and poor working conditions of human rights-related jobs. Nevertheless, a long-term, holistic, ends-based program of strategies tailored to local incentives can help sustain and support reformist impulses. The study ends by offering policy recommendations aimed to maximize the long-term impact of producing human rights-minded professionals who are willing and able to act, individually or institutionally, to promote human rights in China. These preliminary results further suggest that the lack of more fundamental change brought about by law-related development cooperation stems more from flaws in donors’ approach than from LDM’s theory of legal education and social change. (Less)
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author
Yeh, Jessica I.
supervisor
organization
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Law and Development, human rights education, legal education, human rights, legal reform in China, Sweden, development cooperation, donors, impact, social change
language
English
id
2158014
date added to LUP
2011-09-14 11:54:29
date last changed
2011-09-14 11:54:29
@misc{2158014,
  abstract     = {Using a master’s-level human rights program funded by Sweden at Peking University, this case study sought to explore the connection between legal education and social change as influentially advanced by the Law and Development Movement (LDM) and now reflected in various donor-funded law and governance projects in China. To evaluate the program’s underlying assumptions of change, the study examined the program’s impact from the perspectives of its intended beneficiaries, the students, through in-depth interviews, participant observation, and questionnaires. The empirical findings reveal that at the micro, individual level and in the short term, the program has achieved some degree of mental, behavioral, and career impact and exhibits a potential for longer-term social change. But this momentum is likely to be lost because in the larger environment, students face adverse institutional settings and structural incentives that do not support human rights perspectives and practices, such as employers who do not find human rights relevant or valuable and the low pay and poor working conditions of human rights-related jobs. Nevertheless, a long-term, holistic, ends-based program of strategies tailored to local incentives can help sustain and support reformist impulses. The study ends by offering policy recommendations aimed to maximize the long-term impact of producing human rights-minded professionals who are willing and able to act, individually or institutionally, to promote human rights in China. These preliminary results further suggest that the lack of more fundamental change brought about by law-related development cooperation stems more from flaws in donors’ approach than from LDM’s theory of legal education and social change.},
  author       = {Yeh, Jessica I.},
  keyword      = {Law and Development,human rights education,legal education,human rights,legal reform in China,Sweden,development cooperation,donors,impact,social change},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Promoting Human Rights in China through Education : An Empirical Impact Evaluation of the Swedish Approach from Student Perspectives},
  year         = {2008},
}