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Title: 'Missionary zeal of recent converts' : norms and norm entrepreneurs in the foreign policy of the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia 1989-2011
Author: Mikulova, Kristina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 0947
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The following dissertation discusses the role of norms and norm entrepreneurs in the foreign policy-making of the Czech Republic, Poland and Bratislava after the downfall of communism. In at attempt to unpack the mechanics and appliance of “soft power” in foreign policy practice in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, it identifies conditions and analyzes processes via which norms come to play the role of intermediary variable in the articulation and enactment of national interest. Capitalizing on the agency-oriented strand of norm diffusion theory in international relations and discursive institutionalism scholarship in comparative politics, the dissertation argues that normative frameworks advocated by value-bound networks of so-called norm entrepreneurs can play a regulative function in foreign policy-making by setting boundaries for discourse and sustaining logics of appropriateness that constrain the pool of available foreign policy choices at critical junctures. In the first part, “the mission and conversion” (1989-1999), the dissertation focuses on the early stages of norm emergence and habituation in the three states in the 1990s, asserting that ideational influence incurred by American “missionaries” on Czech, Polish and Slovak “converts” to democracy via a range of socialization processes related to NATO enlargement and Western democracy promotion efforts in the region gave rise to norm entrepreneur groups bound by a shared commitment to a normative framework dubbed “dissident geopolitics”. In part two, “the zeal”, the dissertation concentrates on the later stages of norm internalisation, demonstrated by norm enforcement in foreign policy. Using case studies of Czech, Polish and Slovak foreign policy during the Iraq War (2002-2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004-2005) and the Russia Reset (2009-2011), the dissertation shows how sustained advocacy by norm entrepreneurs with or without structural power, who skillfully use framing to push their normative agendas in discursive competition with other norm entrepreneurs, factors “dissident geopolitics” in the decision-making process that produces activist and value-laden foreign policy outcomes that might not have been expected of “weak” states. Ultimately, the dissertation argues that dominant norms and norm entrepreneur networks can thrive in transition settings when they are less disputed, but they tend to lose coherence and unity, respectively, as the foreign policy landscape diversifies upon completion of democratic consolidation.
Supervisor: Sasse, Gwendolyn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; Democratic government ; European democracies ; International studies ; Foreign policy ; Central Europe ; norms ; norm entrepreneurs ; transition