Luengo, María. “Gender violence: the media, civil society, and the struggle for human rights in Argentina.” Media, Culture & Society 40, no. 3 (2018): 397-414.

The #NiUnasMenos (Not One Less) movement emerged in Argentina in 2015 in response to recent and numerous acts of murder and violence against young women in Argentina. In this article, the author connects societal polarization, human rights discourse, femicide, and civic society theory, to weave together an account of how the media was able to utilize the movement and the tradition of civil codes to momentarily suspend the polarization within Argentinian society and generate action. The author analyzed news articles, interviews and media coverage to understand and pinpoint the rhetoric employed by the media to overcome this polarization and to motivate social action by all Argentinian peoples. The backdrop of this article is theory on how a civil society operates and the general tradition of human rights in Argentina.

The author begins her article with the discussion of civil society theory and how societies operate in alignment with civil and anti-civil codes in order to promote democracy. This theory is used to explain how the framing of the #NiUnasMenos movement by the media as an issue of civil codes was able to unite Argentinians on this issue, despite the deep ideological rifts between them. This example is predicated on the idea that civil codes appeal to all members of society, despite their social, cultural, or political designations, and that particular framing of the issue is the mechanism behind the solidarity and action that the movement generated. Thus, human rights is not the central point of this work, the central point is making a case for how journalism, through its utilization of civil society theory, can affect political culture and polarization and generate action on human rights issue.  

The author did a thorough and convincing job in articulating the media’s role in the success of the #NiUnasMenos movement and how the underpinning of the success was the unification of society through civil codes. The examples of reframing the issue from an “individual” problem to a “collective” one, and the examples that showed how activists, journalist, and politicians were all appealing to universal rights and bringing together people from all political spectrums really blended the theory and the argument well. I appreciated how the author incorporated previous discourse of human rights in Argentina and how important the military repression of left-wing movements was integral in sparking that discourse in Argentina. It illustrated the resounding impact of that past social trauma in modern times and how previous violations inform the discussion on current violations as the author highlighted the Mothers of Plazo de Mayo as leaders of the human rights movement in Argentina.  

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