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Title: Norm contestation in international politics
Author: Stimmer, Anette
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 9397
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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First generation norm scholars treat the meaning of a norm as if it was clear-cut and static in order to show the influence of international law on state behavior. Second generation norm scholars acknowledge that legal ambiguities and tensions give rise to debates. However, they tend to end rather than begin with the finding that norm contestation is a common occurrence in international affairs. This project begins with norm contestation as a problematic to understand norm development in international relations. This study develops a theoretical framework on processes and possible outcomes of norm contestation that can guide empirical research. States can agree or disagree on both the norm frame (justification) and/or claim (action) when applying international law. Thus, norm contestation can have four different outcomes: norm clarification (frame and claim agreement), norm recognition (frame agreement/claim disagreement), norm neglect (frame disagreement/claim agreement) and norm impasse (frame and claim disagreement). These alternate endings have different effects on the clarity and strength of the contested norms, as well as on subsequent debate over them. This "alternate endings" typology structures an empirical analysis using contentanalysis and elite interviews to compare the duration and effect of contestation over security norms. I further show that the malleability of norms does not make them epiphenomenal to power. States pay attention to the legal justifications they provide for their actions, so that norms both structure debates, and are constructed by them. States act strategically when interpreting norms, but social dynamics intervene in the process, and influence the outcome: the kind of legal framing and legitimation strategy that a state or a third party to which norm interpretation was delegated to engages in matters. Next to this justificatory discourse, the reactions of in- and out-group members to norm interpretations decide over their sustainability.
Supervisor: Snidal, Duncan Sponsor: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung ; DPIR/Nuffield College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pacific settlement of international disputes