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Human Rights Review

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 165–191 | Cite as

Norm Proxy War and Resistance Through Outsourcing: The Dynamics of Transnational Human Rights Contestation

  • Rebecca Sanders
Article

Abstract

A great deal of constructivist international relations research on norms focuses on the diffusion of liberal human rights values. In contrast, this article analyzes how critics seek to undermine human rights principles in contexts where human rights norms are increasingly hegemonic. It argues that when norm challengers are frustrated by the institutionalization of human rights, they engage in transnational strategies to pursue their agendas. In norm proxy war, actors patronize surrogates in locales where norms are weak in the hope that victories abroad will reverberate internationally and at home. This dynamic is illustrated by American evangelical sponsorship of political homophobia in Uganda, culminating in that country’s draconian anti-LGBT legislation. When norms are resisted through outsourcing, actors contract out human rights violations in an effort to erode norms through practice, as evidenced by patterns of extraterritorial detention and extraordinary rendition to torture in the post-9/11 “Global War on Terror.” Identifying these patterns broadens understanding of potential pathways of norm contestation.

Keywords

International norms Contestation Proxy war Outsourcing LGBT rights Rendition Torture 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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