Document Type

Honors Project


Due to indigenous peoples' focus on maintaining localized cultural difference, it is surprising that the indigenous rights movement has been so robust and pervasive on the global scale. World polity and transnational advocacy network (TAN) theories have attempted to explain the rise of the global indigenous movement, but unique features of indigenous peoples and their rights make the applications of these theories potentially problematic. This study looks at participation in the global movement empirically, attempting to answer the questions of why and when indigenous peoples participate. With a new data set, I use event history analysis to model participation in the Working Group on Indigenous Populations. I find that despite inherent contradictions between world culture and tenets of indigenous rights, world polity theory provides a compelling explanation of variation in participation in the Working Group. At the same time, my research calls into question the explanatory power of grievances as a causal mechanism for participation, problematizing the application of TAN theories to the indigenous movement. Additionally, I find evidence for regional and materialistic explanation of participation in the Working Group. It is likely that these factors can complement world polity theory in providing an understanding of indigenous involvement in the global movement.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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