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International Norm Dynamics and Political Change

International Norm Dynamics and Political Change - I...

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International Norm Dynamics and Political Change By Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink Normative and ideational concerns=important to international politics When 10 , was founded it was based on realist views of politics and idealism was rejected. The Cold War= war of “hearts and mind” the coupling of power with legitimate social purpose was central to American Foreign Policy of this period. At the same time two of the greatest social constructs were being studied at the time: European integration and decolonization. Neofunctionist were consciously trying to distance themselves from “idealist” prodecessors. Spill-over was supposed to do more than create additional technical tasks; it was supposed to change attitudes; identify and affect among participants. John Ruggie, James March and Johan Olsen explore the intellectual history of this recent “turn” and locate its prominants in the more abstract theoretical debates of social science. We use our review of scholarship on norms and related ideational phenomena in this article to make three arguments: (1) the ideational “turn” of recent years is actually a return to some traditional concerns of the discipline, but it has not brought us back to precisely the same place we began. (2) argue that norms evolve in a patterned “life cycle” and that different behavioral logics dominate different segments of the life cycle. (3)The current tendency to oppose norms against rationality or rational choice is not helpful in explaining many of the most politically salient processes we see in empirical research-process we call “strategic social construct” (in which actors strategize rationally to reconfigure preferences, identifies, or social context. The Return to Norms Norms and normative issues= central to the study of politics Realism fails in Carr’s analysis because it excludes essential features of politics like emotional appeal, to a political goal and grounds for moral judgment. UN-fails to theorize these normative processes. Realists like Hans Morgenthau wrote extensively about the way in which ideational and normative factors such as nationalism, morality, and international law limit states’ exercise of power.
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The “turn” away from norms and normative and ideational phenomena were difficult to measure and so tented to be pushed aside for methodological reasons. The behavioral revolution and the “economic turn” of the 1970s and 1980s may have neglected norms, they made important contributions by forcing scholars to think much more rigorously about issues of research design, theoretical clarity, disciplinary cumulation, and parsimony. Contemporary researchers need to specify ideational causal claims and mechanisms clearly, think seriously about the micro foundations on which theoretical claims about norms rest, and evaluate those claims in the context of carefully designed historical and empirical research.
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