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Contestation and Constitution of Norms in Global International Relations
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Book description

Antje Wiener examines the involvement of local actors in conflicts over global norms such as fundamental rights and the prohibition of torture and sexual violence. Providing accounts of local interventions made on behalf of those affected by breaches of norms, she identifies the constraints and opportunities for stakeholder participation in a fragmented global society. The book also considers cultural and institutional diversity with regard to the co-constitution of norm change. Proposing a clear framework to operationalize research on contested norms, and illustrating it through three recent cases, this book contributes to the project of global international relations by offering an agency-centred approach. It will interest scholars and advanced students of international relations, international political theory, and international law seeking a principled approach to practice that overcomes the practice-norm gap.


'This is an ambitious and interesting book which examines and theorizes about the different ways in which global norms are subject to contestation  - objected to as well as critically engaged with - by a variety of stakeholders across different settings. The three case studies of UN targeted sanctions (with a focus on the Kadi case), the prohibition against torture (with a focus on the Rumsfeld case) and the prohibition on sexual violence against women during wartime, are rich and detailed. It should be of interest not just for international relations scholars and theorists, but international lawyers too.'

Gráinne De Búrca - New York University

'This book, an exemplar of global international relations, brings a provocative theoretical approach and rigorous methodology to the study of norms and normative change, taking account of local as well as global dynamics, powerless as well as powerful actors. Asking ‘whose practices count’ and ‘who has access’ to what types of contestation, Antje Wiener shows how normative change is always constituted in a multilogue among differently situated and unequal stakeholders.'

Jacqui True - Monash University, Australia

At a time when liberal assumptions of community and shared values are under siege and diverse actors compete for influence, Antje Wiener’s book on norm dynamics in global international relations couldn’t be more topical. Wiener maps out a multi-focus lens for analyzing the processes and actors that account for norm stability and norm change in global affairs. Building on her pioneering work on norms and contestation, and engaging current debates in IR scholarship on practices, norm robustness and actor diversity, she presents an overarching, finely grained framework for understanding local and global co-constitution of norms. Three carefully chosen case studies demonstrate the value of a framework that can focus on multiple sites of engagement, and illuminate when and why different types of norms are generated and re-generated, and whose practices and contestations matter. An important contribution!'

Jutta Brunnée - Metcalf Chair in Environmental Law, University of Toronto

‘… this is an extremely interesting and worthwhile read for anyone seeking a better understanding of norm cycles and change within the international system … This book will be of particular interest to scholars whose research stands at the intersection of international relations and international law … this book has important implications for our current thinking on the subject and related issues of constituent power, legal autonomy, cosmopolitan democracy and the legitimation of global institutions.'

Garrett Wallace Brown and Sagar S. Deva Source: International Affairs

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