Contact person:
Jakob Svensson
  • Swedish Research Council
Responsible at MaU:
Jakob Svensson
Project members at MaU:
Collaborators :
  • Emil Edeborg - The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Project manager)
  • Cecilia Strand - Uppsala University
Time frame:
01 January 2021 - 31 December 2023
Research environment :

Project description

In a time of sharp polarization around LGBTQ issues, rights advocates are met with fierce resistance in an increasing number of contexts. Despite hostilities, rights defenders need to become publicly visible as a group to raise awareness, seek support for rights claims, forge alliances and attract funding.

The purpose of the project is to understand how visibility strategies and visibility management shape the agency of LGBTQ rights defenders in contexts of state-sanctioned homophobia, as well as examine how development partners (un)intentionally influence visibility practices through rhetoric and funding preferences. By mapping funding patterns and conducting interviews with rights defenders at four LGBTQ organizations in Uganda and Russia, as well as analyze their visibility in digital spaces, we seek to capture the rights defenders’ understanding of visibility, visibility pressures and corresponding visibility practices.

Through a theoretical framework that combines agency and political opportunity structures, the study aims to contribute to a deepened and more nuanced conceptualization of visibility and its role in empowering marginalized groups, exploring when, for whom, where and what kinds of visibility are conducive to rights struggles in repressive contexts. The study also seeks to increase development partners’ awareness about the unwitting impact on rights defenders’ agency, and expand capacity to develop context-appropriate methods for repressive contexts.