Sutton, B., & Norgaard, K. (2013). Cultures of Denial: Avoiding Knowledge of State Violations of Human Rights in Argentina and the United States. Sociological Forum, 28(3), 495-524.

The article “Cultures of Denial: Avoiding Knowledge of State Violations of Human Rights in Argentina and the United States” discusses the sociological tendencies that cause citizens to ignore human rights violations in their country. The study conducted in this article analyzes the last military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976-1983 and the United States during its war on terror post-September 11th attacks. The project analyzed the differences and similarities of citizen roles in a dictatorship and electoral democracy. The author argues that cognitive mechanisms are rarely analyzed when in actuality this unravels more social and political context. Also, the article analyzes cultural and societal norms that may play a role in endorsing human rights violations in the country and possible recommendations to prevent the perpetrators of such violence.

This article provides a unique comparison of the state and civil society relations when regarding human rights violations. Also, the author utilizes a method of comparing Argentina during a military dictatorship and America post-September 11th to present a difference in public outcry regarding human rights violations. This is successful as a method to analyze how social interactions and ideologies impact the way people make sense of political events and especially human rights violations.

The source’s importance is clear in that there is a difference in the political context of certain social violations depending on the country at the time. Argentina under a military dictatorship marked by public silence and the United States of America a democratically elected state with freedom of media to discuss anything share similarities. The author claims the parallels as a contribution of a culture of denial and the incorporation of discourse that strayed from fact. There are social mechanisms that make human rights violations tolerable due to cultural, social, and political aspects that endorse the turning of a blind eye.

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