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Title: "We don't know if we have a right to live" : the impact of global protection norms in the micro spaces of armed conflict
Author: Huser, Catherine Helen Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9790
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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Using South Sudan and the Central African Republic as examples of some of the worst protection contexts in the world, this research asks if global protection norms make a difference for people who are at grave risk and most need them to deliver on their promise. Positioned within the tension between so-called 'advancing norms' and 'worsening realities', it argues that globally articulated protection norms should be judged according to the concrete impact they generate in the lives of the most vulnerable. Drawing from the empirical data of some 970 interviews with some 2390 individuals, it juxtaposes insights into the micro level lived experiences of violence and protection, with macro level assumptions of how protection works. Taking IR constructivism's norm diffusion theory as an articulation of this macro view, it unpacks the assumptions underpinning this model and contrasts these with the micro level accounts of how reality unfolds. With the global vision of protection assuming a topdown deliver of protection, it traces the likely global to local trajectories through which 'advancing norms' are presumed to be translated into a concrete impact in local spaces. A meso level lens spotlights the utter disconnects and/or the dramatic distortions that occur at the interface between these two perspectives. This lens reveals that 'advancing norms' and their global promise to protect largely fail to penetrate into the micro spaces of these 'worsening realities'. People at grave risk in these 'worsening realities' are left to manage their own protection needs while literally staring down the barrel of the gun of the perpetrator. This generates a distinctly different politics of protection than the constructivists presume.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral