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Dedicated to the Good: Norm Entrepreneurs in International Relations

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Rogue States as Norm Entrepreneurs

Part of the book series: Norm Research in International Relations ((NOREINRE))

Abstract

This chapter presents the state of the art on research on norm dynamics in IR with a focus on the role of norm entrepreneurs for the construction, maintenance, strengthening, and change of global norms. Wunderlich provides a comprehensive account of how the concept of norm entrepreneurship has been applied in liberal strands of the norm literature covering the type of actors usually summarized under the label, their characteristics, strategies, motives, and objectives. In doing so, she brings to the fore a normative bias that has led liberal-constructivist norm scholars to focus on prototypical Western liberal actors and their efforts to advocate seemingly universal norms. The extent to which actors other than transnational activist networks or good international citizens are committed to the construction and diffusion of (Western liberal) norms has been largely ignored. The chapter thus lays the foundation for the book’s goal of overcoming this one-sided focus taking recourse to more recent efforts in the realm of critical norm studies.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Parts of this and the following section are based on Wunderlich (2013).

  2. 2.

    Appropriateness can refer to different dimensions of moral and functionalist argumentation, e.g. good/bad, right/unjust, right/false, or purposive/unpurposive.

  3. 3.

    I agree with Deitelhoff (2006: 43–44) that norms always have an implicit moral component, albeit a weak one. Even assumed purely functional norms are always embedded in normative structures. Norm acceptance or deviant behavior is always morally charged because any potential violation of the norm can be understood as a challenge to the normative order as such.

  4. 4.

    Constructivist studies on the effects of norms assume that actors follow different logics of action depending on the situation (e.g., Finnemore and Sikkink 1998: 888; Checkel 1999b).

  5. 5.

    Authors also argue that it is hardly possible to methodically ascertain whether an action is based on self-interest or on norm-induced motivation, e.g., when self-interest is justified by alleged moral motives (Nadelman 1990: 480; Müller 2013: 7–9).

  6. 6.

    This one-sided view has partly been explained through the difficulty of adequately capturing the mutual constituency of agency and structure. Early norm studies therefore often used bracketing strategies: They focused their attention either on the structural effect of norms and consciously ignored agency, or vice versa (Finnemore 1996: 24–25).

  7. 7.

    A more detailed discussion of critical constructivist approaches to norms can be found in Chap 4.

  8. 8.

    While Finnemore and Sikkink do not directly relate to Sunstein, they refer to central elements of his concept. According to Florini (1996: 375), the term “norm entrepreneur” was first used by John Mueller in a conference paper in 1993, yet in his further workings, he only spoke of “entrepreneurs […] to catalyse, create and crystallize ideas whose time they hope, has come” (Mueller 1996: 26).

  9. 9.

    Note that the roots of the concept of entrepreneurship lie in economics. An entrepreneur in the capitalist sense is the founder and owner of a company who, according to Schumpeter (1912), is characterized by innovation and a willingness to take risks. In this way, he or she not only initiates socioeconomic changes on a long-term basis, but also acts as a driving force for social progress.

  10. 10.

    It was Haas (1992) who coined the term “epistemic communities,” that is networks of knowledge-based experts who make available their shared causal beliefs and technical-scientific expertise to help decision-makers define and solve the problems they face. However, the distinction between activist networks that adhere to shared moral aspirations and epistemic communities that are primarily oriented toward knowledge generation (Sikkink 1993a, b: 440; Finnemore 1996: 86; Keck and Sikkink 1998: 30) can hardly be maintained empirically. Epistemic communities also share normative beliefs and act in a way that is driven by norms, and NGOs in turn also generate knowledge and are partly integrated into larger epistemic communities (Brühl 2003: 165). One might, however, concede that they are less actively involved in norm-generating processes.

  11. 11.

    This literature shares key conceptual assumptions with social movement literature, such as the term “multiplication of voices” for transnational activist networks used by Keck and Sikkink (1998: x).

  12. 12.

    Busby (2010: 17–32) provides an overview of various TANs in different policy areas and the authors who deal with the respective networks.

  13. 13.

    For a critique and first efforts to overcome this bias, see the contributions in the special issue edited by Risse and Draude (2018).

  14. 14.

    See Björkdahl (2002a, b, 2008, 2013), Ingebritsen (2002), Capie (2008), Brysk (2009), Rublee (2009), Carr (2012), Becker-Jakob et al. (2013), Wunderlich (2013), Youde and Slagter (2013).

  15. 15.

    This definition also reveals the danger of circular reasoning when norm entrepreneurs are identified only ex-post on the basis of certain behaviors.

  16. 16.

    In other words, these institutions are increasingly being labeled as norm entrepreneurs. In general, a lot of the works on the EU’s eastward enlargement or its consolidation politics can also be described as norm entrepreneurship (e.g., the work of Schimmelfennig 2003 or Checkel 1999a, 2000). The concept of “normative power Europe” developed by Manners (2002) corresponds to the norm entrepreneur concept, namely—abbreviated—the effort to promote and further develop norms proactively and intentionally.

  17. 17.

    There are also studies that have examined the role of IGOs in norm diffusion processes on a more general level (e.g., Santa-Cruz 2005), yet to the extent that they do not operate with the concept of norm entrepreneurship, they are not considered in the literature review.

  18. 18.

    However, Robert C. Ellickson rightly points out that this is only the case after successful norm entrepreneurship, i.e., “when group members widely accept a new norm” (Ellickson 2001: 12).

  19. 19.

    In contrast, Nicole Deitelhoff suggests that (non-state) norm entrepreneurs should not be perceived primarily as agents of persuasion in norm construction processes (Deitelhoff 2009). In her view, norm entrepreneurs are rather concerned with changing the institutional and normative context so as to enable states to enter into meaningful deliberation aimed at persuasion.

  20. 20.

    These tasks do not need to follow a linear sequence, but may be carried out in parallel. Moreover, it is not necessary to go through all the steps to successfully establish a (new) norm.

  21. 21.

    The phases are analytical categories; in practice, the boundaries are fluid. The individual processes described here as part of certain steps can be carried out across all phases. Actors may also assume different roles simultaneously (Hamilton 2008).

  22. 22.

    Following Björkdahl (2002a: 59), the term “norm candidates” refers to ideas that are presented as norms to be established by norm advocates to a group of potential norm addressees. Unlike established norms, they do not yet have intersubjective validity or are shared across a wider populace. According to Björkdahl (2002a: 72), norm entrepreneurs select ideas (1) whose content addresses the problem at hand; (2) that resemble their own values, practices and patterns of thought; and (3) that possess a certain moral and theoretical appeal.

  23. 23.

    The term “organizational platforms” includes international organizations, regimes, conferences of State Parties, summits, and TANs. A common agenda and availability of shared resources are crucial (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998).

  24. 24.

    According to Nye (1990), “soft power” is to be distinguished from “hard power,” that is the exercise of power with recourse to military and financial resources. In contrast, “soft power” is based on being a role model, which can be traced back to a specific value system or the culture of a country.

  25. 25.

    The concept was developed by sociologist Goffman (1974) and also found its way into the literature on social movements. In accordance with the subject of this study, I focus on how the concept has been used in norms research.

  26. 26.

    Other synonyms are “issue linkage” (Koh 1998: 653), “cultural match” (Cortell and Davis 2000: 73), “normative fit” (Florini 1996: 376; Björkdahl 2002a, b: 52), “linking” (Rublee 2008: 44), or “nesting” (Müller 2013: 5).

  27. 27.

    Whether or not an audience buys a certain frame is also influenced by the characteristics of the actors involved as well as by the content of the frame itself: by the simplicity and clarity of the message conveyed, by its resonance with the normative context of the addressees, and by its inherent consistency (Keck and Sikkink 1998: 73; Benford and Snow 2000: 619–621).

  28. 28.

    Busby (2010: 53) argues that activists may consciously rely on ambiguous frames in order to generate greater resonance among different norm addressees.

  29. 29.

    On the difference between strategies of framing and shaming, Busby notes: “Shaming is a close cousin of framing and is often implicitly referenced as a kind of framing. Where framing efforts […] can rely on appeals to actors’ better angles and ideas about what is good and right, shaming efforts seek to punish and rhetorically bludgeon actors for failure to live up to their values. As a consequence, shaming has a more coercive feel” (Busby 2010: 16).

  30. 30.

    Jüngling (2013: 51, fn. 12) defines verbal criticism as written or oral articulation of the disapproval of an action or a specific policy of one or more actors, which may not be followed by concrete actions on the part of the criticizing actor(s).

  31. 31.

    Genuine persuasion is geared toward actors changing their preferences and therefore requires that all actors involved are prepared to be convinced by the force of the better argument (Deitelhoff 2006: 76–77). Therefore, Björkdahl also raises the question, “whether norms established through coercive means, such as arm-twisting, shaming or moral sanctions which require constant monitoring to ensure compliance, can be considered as authentic norm adoption” (Björkdahl 2008: 136).

  32. 32.

    While the literature on social (protest) movements illustrates the full spectrum of these techniques (Josselin and Wallace 2001b: 255), norm research has only recently begun to acknowledge norm advocates’ usage of more confrontational, destructive means (e.g., Bob 2012).

  33. 33.

    Pozen (2008: 310) notes that some norm entrepreneurs may have been dismissed as “busybodies” or lunatics prior to norm institutionalization and sees the impossibility of ex-ante identification of norm entrepreneurs as the biggest difference to the entrepreneur concept used in economics.

  34. 34.

    It should be noted that the effect of these factors is not unidirectional, but can have beneficial and inhibitory effects on norm entrepreneurship. When I speak of conditions for success in the following, this is done for reasons of practicality.

  35. 35.

    While norm entrepreneurs can increase the chances of “their” norm being diffused by respective framing, other content-related features of the propagated norm are only to a limited extent within the sphere of their influence, e.g., which political field it originates from or whether it refers to superordinate norms and principles such as sovereignty or justice. These factors could thus as well be assigned to the characteristics of the normative context.

  36. 36.

    At the same time, such structures may constrain norm entrepreneurship: The UN Secretary-General, for example, acts on the basis of the UN Charter and relies on the normative consensus of the majority of member states.

  37. 37.

    Some authors argue that it is easier for powerful states to become norm entrepreneurs because of the wealth of resources at their disposal, i.e., because they have higher communication resources, access to decision-making fora or coercive power (Florini 1996: 375; Reich 2005: 13–14).

  38. 38.

    This normative bias has repeatedly been attributed to a liberal bias of constructivism itself (Sterling-Folker 2000; Barkin 2003; Adamson 2005). See also the recent debate on the limits and possibilities of critical norm research (Engelkamp et al. 2014a, b; Deitelhoff and Zimmermann 2014; Hofius et al. 2014).

  39. 39.

    Consequently, Price (2008) confronts the criticism of a progressive bias inherent in norm research with an invitation to his constructivist colleagues to make their normative attitudes explicit. They should not shy away from facing difficult moral dilemmas that could arise as the downside of moral progress. According to Price, the explicit revelation of a normative standpoint would allow constructivists “to identify some of the morally undesirable implications of erstwhile progressive developments. This includes identification of complicity of the progressive with the oppressive” (Price 2008: 35). However, Matthew J. Hoffmann makes the following restrictions: “constructivism cannot provide guidance on whether socially constructed values are good or not, but it can expose the social constructedness of ideas that have come to count as moral values. This is valuable whether or not one analyzes normative structures widely understood (from perspectives other than constructivism) to be morally ‘bad’, ambiguous, or ‘good’” (Hoffmann 2009: 242).

  40. 40.

    As examples of such techniques, Checkel cites rape and hazing as admission rituals in socialization processes of groups (Checkel 2012: 4). Even if for normative reasons it is doubtful as to what extent violent norm entrepreneurship is possible by definition, such an extension would make it possible to search for conditions of violent or non-violent norm construction or enforcement (see Chap. 10).

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Correspondence to Carmen Wunderlich .

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Wunderlich, C. (2020). Dedicated to the Good: Norm Entrepreneurs in International Relations. In: Rogue States as Norm Entrepreneurs. Norm Research in International Relations. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-27990-5_2

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