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Norm Contestation

Insights into Non-Conformity with Armed Conflict Norms

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Uses norm contestation as a model for understanding variation in norm-related behavior in international relations
  • Expands understanding of the influence of power and agency in the normative process
  • Unpacks the idea of intersubjective agreement
  • Advances the literature on the operation of norms in the global arena

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Political Science (BRIEFSPOLITICAL)

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About this book

This Brief uses the theory of norm contestation as a model for understanding variation in norm-related behavior in international relations. While most typical approaches to understanding norms view norms as stable structures and actor responses to them as unquestioned, in a global political climate where departures from expected behavior may occur, a more nuanced model is needed. By using a norm contestation framework that highlights norm fluidity and actor agency, this book expands the discussion, providing insight into divergent interpretations of norm violation and compliance and the dynamic nature of norms. The first two chapters introduce the norm contestation model, explain how it contributes to the literature on norm violations, and discuss the reasons for the cases discussed. Chapters Three and Four provide detailed case studies of the mechanisms of norm contestation as they apply to the civilian immunity and non-intervention norms. Chapter Five concludes by reconnecting the norm contestation model to the case studies and describing how it can be applied to norms other than those regulating armed conflict. It also discusses policy implications and avenues for future research. As such, this book will appeal to students and researchers working broadly on issues related to international relations theory, armed conflict, security studies, humanitarianism, human rights, international law, and global governance. It will also be of interest to policy-makers and practitioners interested in influencing the normative behavior of actors in diverse arenas. 

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Table of contents (5 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Political Science, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, USA

    Betcy Jose

About the author

Betcy Jose holds both a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.  Prior to entering academia, she worked with refugees and those seeking political asylum in the United States.  Her academic work builds on her practitioner experience to explore how actors’ efforts to shape global norms, including those codified in international law, impact both the content of humanitarian action and its subjects.  In this vein, she has explored contestation in the civilian immunity norm prior to its codification in international law (in Montesinos’ Legacy: Defining and Defending Human Rights for 500 Years, eds. by Edward C. Lorenz, Dana E. Aspinall, and J. Michael Raley) and contestation over the practice of targeted killing (“Not Completely the New Normal: How Human Rights Watch Tried to Suppress the Targeted Killing Norm” in Contemporary Security Policy and “Bin Laden’s Targeted Killing and Emerging Norms” in Critical Studies onTerrorism).  She is currently exploring whether Russia’s actions in Crimea may be avenue in which it contests the humanitarian intervention norm.

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