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Title: Our weapons, our problem : arms exports, democracy and civil society in Brazil and the UK
Author: de Moraes, Rodrigo Fracalossi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 5517
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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When governments make decisions regarding exports of military equipment, they often look at humanitarian conditions in potential importers, considering the state of human rights or whether arms sales could multiply violence. However, why do governments care about 'distant strangers'? And why are these concerns present in some situations but not in others? I argue that their existence is dependent on the type of domestic political system: the more democratic a country is the more likely governments are to consider humanitarian aspects in decisions regarding arms exports. The causal mechanism is in part explained by activities conducted by norm entrepreneurs, whose emergence is facilitated by the existence of institutions commonly found in democratic countries, especially a system of checks and balances, contested elections, and political and civil liberties. When norm entrepreneurs, through domestic politics, organise campaigns targeting arms exports, governments are more likely to introduce or maintain humanitarian concerns in the decision-making. Domestic politics and norms-based campaigns can therefore shape arms export policies and practice. Although the IR literature has looked at this topic, it has focused on the role of transnational advocacy networks and the creation of international regulations on arms control. This thesis has a different approach: it looks at this topic from the inside-out, demonstrating that the introduction of humanitarian concerns in decisions on arms exports occurred initially through domestic politics. The emergence of international regimes occurred later, reflecting the will of a few states and civil society groups, which sought to export their established norms to the international level, in a process that I call 'norm uploading'. In this 'second stage', civil society groups were more likely to combine efforts with governments to promote treaties regulating the arms trade. This thesis adopts a mixed-method approach. Initially, it uses quantitative methods to test potential determinants of humanitarian concerns in decisions on arms exports, as well as to select cases for further analysis. Subsequently, studies are conducted on Brazil and the United Kingdom. In these countries, I initially look at the causal mechanism through which levels of democracy and civil society campaigns shape behaviour regarding arms exports. Next, I examine why and how the governments of these two countries sought to export their practices to the rest of the world or opted to join international regimes.
Supervisor: Hurrell, Andrew Sponsor: Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea ; Brazil) ; Green Templeton College ; Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Capes ; Brazil) ; Cyril Foster Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Foreign policy ; Civil society ; Decision-making ; Arms control ; Democracy