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What made the modern world hang together: socialisation or stigmatisation?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 June 2014

Ayşe Zarakol
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Cambridge, United Kingdom
Corresponding
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Abstract

Contrary to what is often assumed, norm-internalisation does not always lead to compliance. Normative judgements may be simultaneously internalised and outwardly rejected. Non-compliance is at times a result of hyper-awareness of the particular origin of norms, rather than an unwillingness of the would-be-recipients to do ‘good’ deeds, or their inability to understand what is ‘good’. Such is often the case for non-Western states, as I demonstrate in this article by utilising the sociological concepts of stigma and stigmatisation. In its inability to acknowledge this dynamic, which has its roots in the colonial past of the international order, the constructivist model of norm-diffusion commits two errors. On the one hand, it falls short as a causal explanation, conflating internalisation with socialisation, and socialisation with compliance. On the other hand, it reproduces existing hierarchies in the international system, treating only non-compliance as endogenously driven, but compliance as a result of external stimuli. As there is a great deal of correlation between non-compliance and political geography, such a depiction, coupled with the fact that most norms under scrutiny are ‘good’ norms, once again casts non-Western states as having agency only when they commit ‘bad’ deeds.

Type
Forum: Interrogating the use of norms in international relations: postcolonial perspectives
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2014 

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