Special Issue | May 2019
Resisting or Supporting Change? Elite Strategies in Peace Processes
Paths to Security Regime Complexity in Asia and Europe
Resisting or Supporting Change? Elite Strategies in Peace Processes
A Case Study of the African Union and African Peace and Security Architecture
The Global Diffusion of Voluntary Environmental Programmes
Lessons from Women‐Led Resistance Movements over Land in Cambodia
Labour Unions, Institutional Change and the Promotion of Labour Clauses in US Trade Agreements
The Interplay between Multilateral Treaties and State Practice
Immigration Preferences among Latino Voters in the United States
Conflict and Peace Processes
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Resisting or Supporting Change? Elite Strategies in Peace Processes

Support or resistance of national elites, be they members of governments, strong business actors, or powerful (armed) opposition groups, has been identified as a key factor impacting the chances of ending armed conflict and sustaining peaceful transitions. Peaceful settlements, if they are to last, must secure the consent and buy-in not only of the population at large, but also of those elites with the capacity to derail agreements or their implementation. Based on comparative analysis of over 40 qualitative case studies on war-to-peace and political transitions, this paper by Thania Paffenholz asks: (1) Which strategies do elites predominantly apply to resist or support change before, during, and after the reaching of peace agreements; (2) What are the conditions under which elites in particular resist change during peace processes, and what incentives can be found that drive these choices? (3) What responses have been employed by international, regional, and national actors in the context of various elite strategies?

The Elasticity of Identity in Rwanda and Burundi

Hutu, Tutsi and Twa in Rwanda and Burundi have long been conceived of as distinct ethnic groups based on differences in origin, occupation and appearance. The boundaries between these groups have not always been as rigid as suggested. While scholars have highlighted numerous instances of intermixing, as different ethnicities lived alongside each other and intermarried, more notable instances of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa switching ethnicities have nonetheless been ignored. In this paper, Ravi Bhavnani and Kanish Debnath (FLAME University) assess the degree of identity elasticity – fluidity driven by demand, supply and cost – in Rwanda and Burundi in an effort to: (1) counter the notion that identities were somehow fixed or immutable; and (2) explore the implications of fluidity/rigidity for violence. They adapt Akerlof’s (2000) analysis to the specificities of their context. Their analysis demonstrates why certain historical moments were characterised by greater or lesser degrees of fluidity, and finds that rigid ethnic boundaries were not evidenced at the outset of numerous, often notable episodes of inter-ethnic violence.

Between Disciplining and Being Disciplined: Multi‐Directional Power Relations and Negotiated Agency in the Governance of Ex-combatants in Colombian Reintegration

How does reintegration work to transform ex-combatants into certain kinds of citizens for the post-conflict state-under-construction? Building on regional ethnographies of Colombian reintegration (214 in-depth interviews, focus-group discussions and observations in 2017–2018), Mia Schöb identifies governing techniques that can be described, in Foucauldian terms, as mostly governmental, often disciplining and sometimes coercive. Her empirics reveal multi-directional power relations and diverse forms of agency: bureaucratic complexities, mismatches between central concepts and regional contexts, and contradictory practices create spaces for slippage, maneuver and resistance which ex-combatants and reintegration workers navigate to stretch their margins of agency and negotiate specific versions of themselves. Coercion and complicity become de facto reintegration policy makers. Dominantly localised, apolitical expressions of citizenship can thus be understood as negotiated results rather than exclusive subject positions made available to ex-combatants in everyday interpersonal reintegration practices.

Yemen: Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick: The Threat of Sanctions in UN Mediation Processes

Like other countries in the region, in early 2011, Yemen became engulfed in popular protests calling for the fall of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years. In the wake of the failure of domestic and regional efforts to persuade Saleh to step down, the United Nations – through the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen Jamal Benomar – established itself as one of the key players in the country. Benomar’s original “listening mission” without a formal mandate from the General Assembly or the Security Council soon turned into a model for other mediation processes. It also managed to repeatedly bring the country back from the brink. Although the spoilers ultimately prevailed and the country became synonymous with humanitarian disaster and mediation failure, throughout his tenure, Benomar managed to both “speak softly” and “carry a big stick”. Based on a qualitative analysis of official documents and elite interviews, the paper by Zuzana Hudáková investigates the use of the threat of sanctions in the UN mediation process in Yemen between January 2011 and March 2015.

Context and Symmetry in Intergroup Interactions: Exploring the Salience of Ethnicity, Caste and Class among Hindus and Muslims in India

The existing literature on intergroup contact and conflict shares a prevailing assumption that contact between members of nominally rival groups occurs along a single identity dimension: ethnicity. Yet, ethnicity is one among a number of identity dimensions that may or may not assume primacy, depending on the context and the nature of interaction among individuals and groups. This  research by Ravi Bhavnani and Mélanie Kolbe explores the contextual nature of social identification and interaction. The authors pursue two interrelated questions: Which particular identity dimensions are most strongly associated with different forms of intergroup contact? And under what conditions is contact symmetrically or asymmetrically perceived by “initiator” and “respondent”? Employing a “lab in the field” experiment conducted in Pune, India, they focus on the interplay between ethnicity, caste, and class among Hindus and Muslims. In a series of structured games that manipulate the context and type of intergroup contact, they test the conditions under which participants discriminate along caste/class or ethnic/religious lines.

Capturing the State: The Formation of Collusion between State Actors and Criminal Groups

Organised crime has become an increasing threat to democratic regimes. Governments that are functional but affected by prevalent institutional corruption become particularly vulnerable to the penetration of criminal groups. In these captured states, criminal groups have infiltrated government institutions to establish informal networks that have allowed them to conduct illicit business. The usual agreement behind state-criminal collusions is that, on the one hand, the state actor refrains from targeting the colluded criminal group; on the other, the criminal group compensates (generally financially) the colluded state actor for turning a blind eye to its illicit activities. Nevertheless, collusions also involve costs for both actors and these costs can prevent collusions from taking place. Claudia Pfeifer Cruz analyses under what conditions these arrangements unfold. She estimates the likelihood of collusion formation focusing on state-criminal dynamics at the local level. To do this, she develops a theoretical framework that builds upon local socio-economic characteristics and political institutions, while using the case of Mexico.

From Deviance to Defection: Collaborators in Social Conflicts

Civilian defection has to date been predicated on its relationship to exogenous violent actors, with a focus on collaborators as the outcome of interest. Yet what constitutes defection is construed endogenously, based on a range of accepted and unaccepted behaviour, as well as perceptions about where individuals fall within that range. When the labeling of defection is broad or lax it exceeds behavioural deviance, resulting in an over-identification of collaborators. Conversely, when the labelling of defection is narrow, fewer deviants are considered defectors, and collaborators may be under-identified. These states have implications for behaviour: deviants may be driven towards conformity to avoid being labelled as collaborators, or “flip” towards defection in acceptance of their label. This paper by Mirko Reul develops a computational model to account for complex defection patterns in three social settings. Anecdotal evidence illustrates how different social rules explain these patterns across contexts. As a next step, the model is seeded and validated with micro-level data constructed from archival records and interview material.

Security Studies and Regionalism

Paths to Security Regime Complexity in Asia and Europe

Taking a comparative approach, Stephanie Hofmann and Andrew Yeo (The Catholic University of America) explore how the regional and temporal context produces variation in the growth and pace of institutional layering. They find that the pathways to regional security regime complexity vary based on the nature of focal organisations, and in particular, the formal/informal character of these organisations. They develop their argument by examining the evolution of security institutions in Asia and Europe. They argue that the structure of the focal multilateral organisation matters to explain the subsequent timing and sequence of additional layering. In Europe, while NATO member states were willing to join the informal CSCE, it took several attempts during a few decades before European NATO governments overcame hurdles and established an additional formal institution, the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy. In postwar Asia, the presence of US bilateral alliances precluded the formation of multilateral organisations during the Cold War. However, ASEAN’s emergence in the post–Cold War period lowered the costs for states to experiment with multilateral initiatives to fill functional gaps. Thus, Asia experienced a rapid proliferation of weak, mostly informal institutions.

The State of the Islamic State: A Sub‐National Comparison of ISIS’s Rebel Governance Effectiveness across its Iraqi and Syrian Territory, 2014–2017

Following the declaration of an Islamic Caliphate in June 2014, ISIS began a concerted period of rebel governance across its Iraqi and Syrian territories until its decline in 2017. How effective ISIS was at governing its territory, the extent to which this effectiveness internally varied and the explanatory factors behind this variation, has so far received little attention in the rebel governance literature. Most studies have tended to mistakenly extrapolate the group’s governance in its Raqqa and Mosul “capitals” as representative of its entire territory. This paper by Matthew Bamber thus argues that to fully comprehend the effectiveness of any rebel group’s governance, it is necessary to examine the variation in their internal governance effectiveness. It presents the first comparative analysis of ISIS’s governance effectiveness across the 11 provinces it controlled between 2014 and 2017 and details the explanatory factors behind this variation. It is based on an original database of ISIS primary documents and interviews in Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey with displaced residents of ISIS-controlled areas.

Uneven Borderwork in Central Asia

European security cooperation with Central Asia forms around one of the most sensitive issues in the area – borders. From Vienna to Bishkek, a long chain of practices routinely produces depoliticised formations and infrastructures for “open and secure borders” in the region. At each point the limits of cooperation are obvious, in the divergence of views between partners, in the limited financial and organisational clout of the EU or the OSCE in Central Asia, in the uncertain and unexpected (mis)uses of whatever was achieved earlier. This paper by Miguel Iglesias Lopez seeks to understand how these difficulties stem from and compound the limits of border control writ large in Central Asia: local arrangements to gain regular passage, conscription-based border guards at odds with international border management lore, daunting spaces of harsh mountainous terrain. It pays close attention to the concrete sites where these logics meet to sketch a composite borderwork that differentially speeds, brakes or ignores certain people and goods in certain places at certain times. The varied logics performed by the actants enrolled in border control co-function in an uneven assemblage of power.

Returning Foreign Fighters Are Not a Threat: The Case for Giving Amnesty to Foreign Fighters Returning from Syria and Iraq

With the potential end of the Islamic State (IS) as a territorial entity, the question of what to do with foreign citizens who have been fighting for IS and who choose to return to their home countries has been a salient issue for domestic and global security. This paper by Raphaël Leduc investigates the policies that seek to address the problem of returnees by looking at the following question: Do returning foreign fighters represent a security threat to their home country? Through the use of two dimensional-semantics, it argues that the optimal solution is to emulate the model of fighter reintegration used in civil wars, so-called disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) policies. In particular, it argues that a policy of amnesty for veteran foreign fighters would maximise global security without increasing the threat of domestic terrorism in the countries that implement them. It empirically supports this position through the use of historical and statistical analysis that looks at recent trends in foreign fighters demobilisation as well as IS-related terrorist attacks in the West.

Security Dilemmas, Military Pressures and the Prospects of Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration in Syria

Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) has become an integral part of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. When it comes to Islamist armed groups, however, governments often adopt a counterterrorism framework, which is focused on military defeat. In the context of the Syrian civil war, both the government and international actors have adopted primarily a counterterrorism approach, albeit targeting different factions of the opposition. What remains unexplored is how this approach impacts the possibility of DDR in the future. In this paper, Abdulla Ibrahim and Emy Matesan (Wesleyan University) unpack the tension between the counterterrorism and the conflict resolution approaches by focusing on the evolution in the needs and demands of four Islamist opposition movements after major military offensives. Drawing on primary sources and interviews conducted in 2016 and 2018, their paper examines whether military offensives impacted the willingness of these groups to enter into negotiations or to demobilise, and how government military pressure has affected the political demands made by these groups.

Contingencies of Leadership Role in the Syrian Militias’ Life Cycle (2011–2018)

Armed groups go through two phases during their life cycle in a civil war: formation, followed by either consolidation or dissolution. Empirical evidence from the Syrian civil war between 2011 and 2018 shows that leadership plays different roles in the two phases. This research by Abdulla Ibrahim focuses on the contingencies of leadership interaction with elements of ideology, resources, and social-structure to produce different trajectories and modalities for the armed groups. Process tracing will be employed to examine the impact of the presence or absence of leadership in four militias’ life cycle.

Methodological/Theoretical Novelties and Datasets

Comrades or Acquaintances? Social Network Analysis of Transnational Sustainability Standard Communities in Meta‐Governance Organisations

While sustainability governance literature has put attention to transnational private standard communities in the same issue area, little is known about to what extent such meta-governance organisations have facilitated collaboration and coordination among their members. As such, this paper by Yixian Sun and Ellen Alexandra Holtmaat asks: What forces shape interactions among standards in the meta-governance networks and how do such interactions change over time? It focuses on ISEAL Alliance, the most influential meta-governance organisation of sustainability standards, and investigate three types of ties linking 21 ISEAL members from 2012 to 2017. Using stochastic actor-oriented modeling to assess the effects of both structural and agentic forces on network dynamics, it  finds that while the ISEAL networks were originally sparse, over time its members increased their collaboration and sharing expertise, even though in a limited way. 

Fabricating Critique: Towards an International Political Ergonomics

Drawing on the work of Lukács, Scarry, and Marx, it is suggested that the current aporia of critical thought rests in the philosophical neutering of materialist thinking that occurred in response to the rise of Stalinism and the resultant over-privileging of language as constitutive of critical questioning. By way of contrast, the paper by Jonathan Luke Austin notes how the aesthetic has always gained social and political influence principally through the materialisation of its ideational components into spectacles designed to prompt thought, affect, and contemplation among audiences. On this basis, it argues for a move towards the “fabricating” of world political critique through the development of an international political ergonomics (iPER). Laying out a programme for the design, craft, and distribution of everyday little objects with the potential to critically “disrupt” negative international phenomena, he calls for a co-option or – rather – reclaiming of technological potential for human flourishing from the current apolitical and acritical monopoly held by the Californian technology industry.

Bridging the Gap between the Global and the Local through Ethnography for IR? Understanding Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration in Colombia through Regional Ethnographies

Top-down IR perspectives shed light on the translation of international DDR norms into national-level policies and criticise their (often) ineffective local implementation. Drawing on a study of DDR in Colombia, Mia Schöb demonstrates how ethnographic immersion, based on observations and in-depth qualitative interviewing, can produce bottom-up perspectives that enrich IR scholarship by deciphering such “implementation problems” and grasping how these feed back into national-level and international norms. Firstly, by identifying institutional complexities and “hidden micro-politics” (Schatz 2009), we can gain a deeper understanding of regional and local reintegration practices that produce “de facto policies” (Lipsky 1980), which contradict but eventually shape the norms at higher institutional levels. Secondly, ethnographic immersion reveals “frictions” with local realities (Shaw 2007), thereby uncovering counterproductive effects of higher-level norms on gendered, classed and ethnic structural inequalities that vary across regional contexts.

The Case for Comparative Ethnography of IOs: Insights Drawn from Participant Observation at the UN

This paper makes the case for the greater use of comparative ethnography as a useful starting point for research of international organisations (IOs). By drawing on his experience from participant observations at the UN, Pavel Mraz demonstrates that comparative ethnography can help researchers address practical problems relevant from a practitioner’s perspective whilst generating new theoretical insights about IOs. He also shows that participant observation is a useful research tool that allows for systematic comparison of formal IO features with modes of informality in those bodies. Furthermore, he demonstrates that comparative ethnography can be conducive to methodological pluralism. By drawing on empirical data constructed through participant observation and interviews, he shows how ethnography can be used alongside process tracing, discourse analysis, and various statistical methods to generate the same richness of analysis as single case studies while enabling the researcher to systematically test for alternative explanations.

Sanctions App: Bridging the Gap between Sanctions Practice and Theory

Sanctions, utilised by different actors to achieve a broad range of objectives, have increasingly become a global policy instrument of choice. However, only sanctions measures adopted by the United Nations (UN) Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter are legally binding on all 193 UN member states. In order to enhance the quality of public knowledge about this important instrument of global governance, a group of researchers launched SanctionsApp, a phone and web application that builds on the first comprehensive, systematic, and comparative assessment of the design and effectiveness of UN targeted sanctions in the post–Cold War period, conducted by the Targeted Sanctions Consortium with the help of over 50 scholars and policy practitioners. This paper by Zuzana Hudáková presents an open, interactive phone/web-based platform as an example of a successful strategy for communicating research results with both academic and policy communities and discusses its epistemological impact, as well as some of the main challenges involved in utilising technology for democratising knowledge.

Helping to Set the Record Straight: Methodologies for Correcting Systematic Omission Biases in Events Data

Most empirical claims about international relations events presume that the publicly available record of events is a reasonably unbiased sample. Although scholars recognise that activities carried out by intelligence agencies or specialised military forces are often covert, the assumption is that ignoring such events will not alter the general thrust of the public record. This assumption is incorrect. First, some events are secret precisely because they contradict the public record; second, other events are operational and below the radar, so that various conflictual or cooperative policies are more extensive, last longer or perhaps are weaker than indicated publicly. Third, resource constraints and “deciding what’s news” biases make it likely that classes of events such as actions carried out by poor or weak states are likely to be ignored by reporting organisations. David Sylvan argues that a useful start at correcting the second and third type of biases is to calibrate particular dyadic events logs by supplementing standard compendia with entries drawn from scraping various web sites; the first bias calls for indirect indicators.

The Composite State

How is the ephemeral object of the state brought into being? From its manifestations at the “macro” levels of ideology, top-down governance, and international legitimacy, to the “micro” levels of an individuals street-side, office-visiting, and/or everyday experience of its effects? This paper by Stéphanie Perazzone answers these questions by introducing the theoretical concept of a “composite state”. The composite state describes the becoming, emergence, or assembly of the state as an artifact of a power through the experiential encounters of individual citizens with state representatives. They are constituted by the material, and hence tactile, construction of office spaces, official documentation, uniforms, and beyond (which make “official” the state), as well as the personal, and hence affective, interactions between state representatives and individuals (which “humanise” the state). Specific to context, these encounters can also involve temporal aspects of nostalgia as well as spatial aspects. The theory of the composite state is shown with deep ethnographic reference to the “composition” of the D.R. of Congo.

Mixed Methods in Researching Regional IOs: The Case of External Donors at the African Union

The proliferation of new datasets on regional international organisations (IOs) has enabled new research questions and comparative analysis between regions. This contribution by Ueli Staeger considers this development from the vantage point of small-N, qualitative research of regional IOs. It studies in particular two issues for mixed methods approaches towards regional IOs: first, the paper argues that new datasets can usefully contribute to an old debate on “region specificity vs. generalisability” that has kept Area Studies and IR scholars busy for a long time. Datasets may help move this debate forward, whereas their objectivity comes at a price, because defining measures and coding IOs requires significant resources on the part of researchers. Second, the paper demonstrates how large-N datasets can overcome pervasive difficulties of access and triangulation in qualitative fieldwork. Both regarding case identification and replicability of case studies, large-N datasets have an important role to play in qualitative research of regional IOs.

Trust Creation between Police and Sex Workers as Protection from Sex Trafficking and Facilitation of Policing: An Agent‐Based Model Inspired By Ethnographic Research

How can police (re-)create trust among marginalised populations? Can supposedly protective policies that stress control over protective mechanisms in the related directives be effective to create friendly relations in everyday police-client interactions? What about policing strategies more related to community policing? This paper by Mira Fey draws on a year-long ethnographic field research with police and sex worker organisations in the Geneva red-light district on the implementation of the city's prostitution law as inspiration for an agent-based model on the creation of trust through affect. Simulated iterations of everyday police-sex worker interactions illustrate which policies might be trust-inducive over time and which directly hinder trust creation. Ethnographic data used to create generalisable findings with an ABM also represents an innovative combination of methods in IR that allows researchers to evaluate the translation of (international) policies on trafficking into everyday police action.

Practicing Critique: Field Notes and Reflections from the Disarmament Trenches

Almost all qualitative research maintains an unbridgeable (and unavoidable) distance between participation and observation (viewed “from the door of the tent”), the result of research constraints, subject positions and subjectivities, and the “costs” of subsuming one’s research project to the exigencies of politics. It is also not necessarily critical in its aims or intentions. Alternatively, practitioners seldom gain the distance necessary for scholarly reflection and critique. Yet the potential of critical or post-critical IR can only be realised insofar as the distance between observation/theory/critique and participation/pragmatics/practice can be closed or collapsed, with all of the dilemmas and challenges involved. This paper by Keith Krause takes aim at the non-participant orientation of most (post)critical IR, in order to explore the strategies for and (im)possibilities of change immanent in practicing critique as a method of engaging with real-world challenges of our times. The overall goal is to avoid the “point at which methods devour themselves” and to contribute to a post-critical project of research and practice.

Global Governance, International Organisations, and Norms

How Are Global Norms incorporated in Regional Mechanisms? A Case Study of the African Union and African Peace and Security Architecture

Since the end of the Cold War, Africa has been the most conflicting area of the world, especially its sub-Saharan part which has been the privilege theatre of various crises and civil wars. These armed conflicts have caused high cost for civilians. To deal with these conflicting dynamics which prevent a sustainable development context in the continent, the African Union has created its African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). In that context, one of the key norms promoted by the regional organisation is the “principle of non-indifference”, which echoes to the UN responsibility to protect (R2P) concept. This paper by Dêlidji Eric Degila analyses how global norms travel, are incorporated and/or adjusted in regional mechanisms, based on the example of the African Union and his commitment to protect civilians.

A Genealogy of Bioethical Expertise

This paper by Annabelle Littoz-Monnet retraces the development of ethics expertise in domestic and global governance arenas. It goes back to debates on the need to include an ethical assessment of science of technology in the late 1970s in the US, in the context of new social challenges presented by technological innovations, the publicising of instances of bad practices on the part of medical professionals, and risks which arose when molecular biologists discovered they could create DNA sequences in the laboratory that did not naturally exist. In this context, while concerns over the ethics of medicine and science were initially voiced as a strong critique, it eventually took the manifestation of a new expert discourse in bioethics. While the emergence of a new cast of experts in ethics pushed aside the remit of scientists’ jurisdiction, it also delegitimised claims that citizens themselves, or other actors such as priests or theologians, were to have their say on such issues. This genealogy of the emergence of the notion of bioethical expertise is key to understanding the function played by such experts in global governance today.

Transnational Policy Networks as a Form of Informal International Governance

Transnational policy networks (TPNs) participate in contemporary global governance by formulating ideas and debating policy options around and through formal and informal intergovernmental organisations. They are illustrative of a form of informal governance that exists in the space around formal and informal intergovernmental organisations. TPNs are constituted by a group of individuals who share a common expertise, a common technical language to communicate that expertise, broadly shared normative concerns, but not a common institutional setting or agreement on specific policy goals. This paper by Thomas Biersteker contrasts the concept of TPNs with other concepts widely employed in the governance literature – advocacy networks, epistemic communities, transgovernmental networks, public-private partnerships, multi-stakeholder initiatives, transgovernmental initiatives – and argues for the integrative advantages of the TPNs idea and its ability to address individual agency and power dimensions of transnational policy formation in emergent issue domains.

A Continuum of Formal to Informal (International) Norms in Global Governance: Three Conceptual Frameworks from Evidence in Global Health

Formal international norms, often conceptualised as binding intergovernmental treaties with the weight of international law, seem to be on the decline. At the same time, “informal” agreements such as accords, declarations, action plans, global roadmaps, resolutions, and other non-binding norms have taken their place. In contrast to other fields, such as environment, in which formal international treaties have long been a standard tool of governance, in global health informal norms have long been the name of the game – binding norms are a rare exception. Evidence from global health suggests that the concept of formality/informality, which is usually treated as dichotomous, merits more complex treatment. At a minimum, a spectrum from formal to informal is needed to capture key aspects of the empirical reality, and a two- or three-dimensional conceptual framework may even be needed. This paper by Suerie Moon provides an overview of the spectrum of normative instruments negotiated by global health actors and offers three conceptual frameworks for the emerging scholarship on informality in global governance.

Determinants of Arab Commitments to the Contemporary Refugee Governance in the Middle East

How have the Arab states reacted to the neighbouring refugee crises in the Middle East? Although most Arab states in the region have never ratified the international refugee treaties, to what extent have they committed to the contemporary refugee governance? It is still controversial whether these Arab states can meet the internationally required degrees of commitments, derived from the international refugee regime, due to their non-signatory status for international laws governing refugee protection. Using the methods of qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), this paper by Hirotaka Fujibayashi explores the determinants and degrees of non-signatory Arab commitments to the contemporary refugee crises in the Middle East. Its findings not only present the intra-regional varieties among the Arab states, but also suggest how the power of international refugee regime can be strengthened if many refugees are hosted within the countries that do not fully comply with the international refugee regime.

The Functions of Expert Knowledge in International Organisations’ Mission Expansion Strategies: The Case of Bioethics

This paper by Annabelle Littoz-Monnet examines the way international bureaucracies strategically resort to the use of knowledge in order to promote their agendas and expand their missions into new issue areas. It does so by looking at the sector of bioethics, a particularly hard case of bureaucratic expansion. The paper compares the strategies of the UNESCO and the WHO. It argues that a new type of experts in bioethics has helped international bureaucracies expand their missions in the field. Expert bioethicists acted as an efficient bureaucratic device, in that they allowed the international secretariats of UNESCO and WHO to technicalise bioethical issues, give epistemic authority to their actions, and boost their capacity to act. While the UNESCO has created a new expert group composed of high-profile bioethicists and has incrementally inserted the group into its own bureaucratic structure, the WHO has mobilised existing national bioethics committees and positioned itself as a hub for the creation of transnational knowledge networks in bioethics, which it in turn resorts to.

Bureaucratisation of Regional Organisations: External Influence and Resistance Strategies at the African Union

Through which mechanisms do external actors exert influence on the bureaucracies of regional international organisations? In studying both institutional bureaucracy as well as institutional output, this paper by Ueli Staeger provides a thick description of how external actor involvement affects organisations and their work. It submits that donors have espoused an ensemble of bureaucratic rationalisation that requires dense interaction between donor and recipient. Yet, regional IO bureaucracies often lack implementation capacity and expertise to respond to the imperatives of bureaucratisation, and hence are left with limited means of resisting external agenda-setting and implementation shaping. In turn, IO bureaucracies also develop resistance strategies that are unintended both by their member states as well as external donors. The paper analyses bureaucratisation of aid through the case of the African Union (AU), using data from archival research and fieldwork. Notably, the use of informal networks as well as the strategic use of multiple donors without sound donor coordination works in favour of AU resistance to donor influence on the AU Commission.

The Limits and Potential for Institutional Innovation: The Case of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

The ambitious Doha Round negotiations launched in 2001 were never completed. Its dispute settlement system – widely regarded as the “jewel in the WTO’s crown” – is in a precarious position from a growing caseload and the failure by member states to agree on the appointment of new Appellate Body members. How can the WTO innovate to overcome this deadlock? To what extent has it done so previously? This paper by Velibor Jakovleski applies a novel analytical framework to systematically map major instances of reform and evaluate their effects across the history of GATT/WTO. Reform is analysed across six elements of organisational design: mandate, membership, decision-making process, resource base, organisational structure, and engagement with non-state actors. Effectiveness is measured before and after reforms on a four-part scale including: procedures, outputs, outcomes, and impact. The paper evaluates which reforms have had the greatest impact on organisational effectiveness in the past, and recommend possible pathways to augment the WTO’s effectiveness going forward.

The Politics of Overlapping Organisations: Hostage‐Taking, Forum Shopping, and Brokering

This paper by Stephanie Hofmann contributes towards theory development of the politics of overlapping organisations. It explains the implications of organisational overlap on organisational mandates. Within the universe of intergovernmental overlapping organisations, it argues that we need to study institutional positions in conjunction with governmental preferences. Based on these two variables, member states have different strategies at their disposal: hostage-taking, forum shopping, and brokering. These strategies impact the formulation and implementation of multilateral commitments as well as the use of resources. Taking the EU-NATO overlap as an example, it shows how these strategies often lead to compromised organisational mandates, where hostage-taking leads to long delays in sending troops, wasted resources and the absence of security agreements, and how brokers have to look for informal innovations.

Environmental Politics, Institutions, and Norms

The Global Diffusion of Voluntary Environmental Programmes: The Case of Chemical Industry’s Responsible Care Programme

Voluntary environmental programmes (VEPs) have proliferated across sectors and issue areas. They can be viewed as non-mandatory efforts to ensure that firms adopt policies beyond the requirements of laws with the objective to produce public goods such as reduced pollution, improved industrial safety, etc. This paper by Aseem Prakash (University of Washington) and Ellen Alexandra Holtmaat examines the diffusion of one of the earliest industry-level VEPs, the chemical industry’s Responsible Care (RC) programme in developing countries. After RC was launched in 1985, it has been adopted by a large number of national-level chemical industry associations across the world. In the context of developing countries, what explains the national association’s membership of RC? Why do only a subset join it, and why at different points in time? Drawing on a unique dataset of national chemical industry associations across the world, the paper explores different explanations for the variations in uptake of RC across space and time, using a Cox proportional hazards model. It focuses on structural, institutional, and ideational factors. Its analysis is further supplemented with selected case studies.

Lobbying beyond Interests: A Relational Explanation of Policy Preferences in the EU Climate Change and Energy Policymaking Process

As part of the EU policymaking process, the European Commission regularly opens consultations to gather the policy preferences and arguments of interest groups, private companies and members of civil society. Within the same consultation, actors can submit multiple position papers providing flexibility to interest groups but also frustrating the identification of the totality of each actor’s preferences. By looking at the 2012 EU consultation on energy and climate change, this paper by Valentina Baiamonte makes one theoretical and one methodological contribution. First, the paper engages the literature on influence and interest groups by redefining policy preferences and how they are conceived. Policy preferences are not rigidly determined at the sole actors’ level; they also have a relational and strategic component aimed at enhancing influence on EU institutions. Second, the paper demonstrates the combination of three methods – network analysis, automated text analysis, and agent-based models – to deal with complex environments where only macro-dynamics are observed.

Conditions for Novelty: How New Environmental Clauses Enter the Trade Regime Complex

When do parties introduce novel clauses to a system of contracts or treaties? While important research has investigated how clauses diffuse once introduced, few empirical studies address their initial introduction. Drawing on a complex adaptive systems perspective and network theory, this paper by James Hollway argues that novel clauses are introduced when agreements are concluded in certain structures of earlier agreements and the clauses they include. It demonstrates this argument using the example of 282 different environmental clauses introduced into the trade regime complex through 630 trade agreements concluded between 1945 and 2016. It finds that trade agreements are more likely to introduce novelties when they involve parties with a diversity of experience with prior environmental clauses, and introduce more novelties when more parties are less constrained by prior trade agreements between them. Contrary to prevailing wisdom, power asymmetry between the negotiating parties is not statistically significant.

Epistemic Legitimation in Complex Governance System: The Case of Renewable Energy Governance

While existing literature examines different aspects of renewable energy governance, we have more limited knowledge about how the varieties of institutions interact to form a system of governance, above the sum of its parts. This paper by Liliana Andonova and Kathryn Chelminski advances the argument that processes of epistemic legitimation among formal and informal governance institutions shape both the landscape and legitimacy of complex governance system. By epistemic legitimation is meant the recognition of the relevance and epistemic credibility of organisations by their peers, thus lending them certain authoritative roles in the governance of a particular issue and shaping the landscape of such authority across the system. The paper conducts network analysis to map these processes within the regime complex for renewable energy governance, and the relevance of climate institutions under the UNFCCC as a referent point for the legitimation. The analysis uses a new original dataset, coding some 44 multilateral institutions and transnational energy initiatives.

Gender Studies and Peacebuilding

Gendered Frames and Mobilisation: Lessons from Women‐Led Resistance Movements over Land in Cambodia

What drives poor women to counter ascribed gendered roles at home and in their communities and become leaders of resistance groups to secure their rights to land? How do these women activists frame their claims in gendered terms? This paper by Saba Joshi explores these questions using insights from four cases situated in urban and rural Cambodia where poor women have mobilised to counter forced evictions and dispossession of their homes and livelihoods, due to government-led “development” projects. Drawing on theories grounded in social movement studies of framing and diverse empirical materials including semi-structured interviews, participant observation and secondary sources such as written and digital media reports, the paper studies the use of gendered frames in female land activists’ discourses. It argues that the mobilisation of the traditional gendered notions of subordination, pacificity, and domesticity produces a situated female activist subjectivity that serves strategic aims of movements over land rights in Cambodia.

“We Don’t See Any Female Vaccinators”: Identifying Violent Extremism Using Locally Generated Indicators in Afghanistan

How do locals understand and identify violent extremism in areas experiencing high levels of terrorist activity? This study by Pamina Firchow (George Mason University) and Eliza Urwin uses an innovative mixed method approach to produce indicators of violent extremism together with local villagers, using data from Kunar and Nagarhar provinces of Afghanistan. The resulting 912 indicators from 18 districts were analysed to give greater insight into rebel governance, the daily experiences of villager interaction with these groups and the drivers of violent extremism. Findings suggest that insurgent groups are not systematic in their enforcement of religious rules and regulations across districts and have a wide range of civilian interactions that vary in levels of tolerance. In addition, they suggest that unemployment and narcotics are the two main drivers of insurgent activity at the local level. Finally, they indicate that violent extremism is highly gendered. Most importantly, however, the study finds that these decisions must be tailored to village and district level needs and that wholesale approaches will be ineffective.

Gendered Authority: The Politics of Evidence in International Gender Expertise

Gender experts, who specialise in mainstreaming a gender perspective into a range of policy domains, have to negotiate a contradictory methodological terrain: on the one hand, they are expected to offer “hard” evidence, on the other hand they may be aware of the problems behind positivist research approaches and themselves trained in alternative approaches. Their dilemma is amplified because in the policy world, as in academia, quantitative data tends to carry more authority. Gender experts that draw on feminist knowledge not only have to negotiate over who has the better argument, but also need to show that their knowledge carries scientific legitimacy. The purpose of this paper by Elisabeth Prügl is to investigate these negotiations over the value of gender expertise. What kind of evidence do gender experts draw on, and how do they argue the truth and weight of such evidence? What is the role of numerical evidence, legal argument, or deconstructive ideas? It draws on interviews conducted with gender experts in the World Bank and UN Women, and examines publications they have produced in different issue areas.

Gender Equality Lost? Examining UNHCR's Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming Approach

In the over 20 years since Beijing Platform for Action, the way in which gender mainstreaming policies have been adopted by organisations and the degree to which they have been implemented, or even more so implemented “successfully”, figures centrally in debates. This paper by Emily Alicia Wiseman demonstrates how international organisations, in this case the UNHCR, can act as conduits that first adopt the gender mainstreaming norm and then re-diffuse it through organisational approaches or strategies. It is argued that a more nuanced understanding of gender mainstreaming as a norm, and the role of organisations as translators of this norm, is necessary to truly understand its impacts. The paper focuses on the translation process and subsequent operationalisation of gender mainstreaming within organisations, examining the adoption process of the gender mainstreaming norm by the UNHCR. It thus contributes to debates that have previously explored the divergent practices and policies of gender mainstreaming but have stopped short of understanding what variations in adoption mean for encouraging different levels of integration or transformation within an organisation.

Political Economy and Economic History

Labour Unions, Institutional Change and the Promotion of Labour Clauses in US Trade Agreements

US labour unions are arguably the most important civil society agent behind the expansion of the scope and depth of labour clauses in US preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Although they opposed most US PTAs based on the low enforcement and enforceability of the labour clauses therein, such an opposition was more rhetorical than practical as relatively small concessions sufficed to break their mobilisation. Given the labour unions’ strong rhetoric underscoring the consistent failure of US PTAs in defending the workers’ rights, this outcome seems puzzling at first. The paper by Rodrigo Fagundes Cézar argues that in order to fully understand the position of US labour unions in the fight for improving US PTAs, the possibilities of veto in the US and the high degree of centralisation of the implementation of labour clauses limit the unions’ ability to seek for deeper institutional changes. The result is a de facto push for institutional changes centred on a strategy of layering and conversion, one focused on gradual, long-term change. The paper presents evidence supporting that argument using elements of process-tracing.

Explaining Variation in the Design of Labour Clauses in Preferential Trade Agreements over Time: A Paired Comparison

Nowadays, the presence of labour clauses in preferential trade agreements (PTAs) is taken for granted in most regions and, in fact, those clauses have been expanding in reach. Notwithstanding such expansion, few explanations give due attention to how the design of labour clauses changes over time. Although theoretically Rodrigo Fagundes Cézar considers in this paper that the principal-agent model can help throw light on such variation, it requires amendments. With that in mind, he analyses agent autonomy in Canada, the US and the EU and observes why, in spite of similar factor endowments, one finds distinct patterns of change in the design of labour clauses in the PTAs signed and ratified by the three actors. Using the method of paired comparison, he examines the agreements of each actor with Chile and Colombia and presents how the heterogeneity of the principals’ preference in a context of high/low polarisation leads to variation in the scope and the degree of obligation of labour clauses over time. In doing so, he argues that trade delegation takes the form of an incomplete contract.

How Uncertainty Created by Political Narration Makes the Market Move

This paper by Dawid Bastiat-Jarosz explores how uncertainty created by political narration is being incorporated into individual stock prices, portfolios or market indices which the narration affects. It finds that markets react over time to the changing levels of uncertainty created by political narrative, and only learn how to correctly price political risk over long periods, which sheds new light on the way the Efficient Market Hypothesis works under conditions of political uncertainty. It builds a variable quantifying the uncertainty created by political narration and uses it in a multifactor model of risk and return explaining equity returns, to find that the variable has explanatory power and points in a direction which allows us to distinguish two states of the market: the normal state and the uncertainty state, characterised by significantly different mean return and volatility. It offers an explanation for why, in the uncertainty state, market participants are susceptible to herd behaviour and to overreacting to news events, and how badly designed communication strategy about political moves decreases the efficiency of a policy.

A Means of “Maintaining Political Stability and a Climate of Confidence”: A Political History of the Asian Dollar Market in Singapore, 1968–1975

This paper by Seung Woo Kim argues the political nature of the Asian Dollar Market (ADM), a regional market for Eurodollars in Singapore, by analysing the way in which the government of Singapore appropriated the symbol of global finance in the context of international politics of the Cold War and post-colonialism. It contends that the making of ADM was a survival strategy deliberately pursued by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew against instabilities that the new city state faced. That is, political leaders understood the neutrality, which they considered one of the key factors for its survival and stability, implied in the making of an international financial centre. And the strategy was to emulate Switzerland, from which  Prime Minister Lee envisioned his country’s future. In doing so, the paper understands the ADM as a nation-building strategy. It extensively uses contemporary periodicals and original documents from important archives such as National Singapore Archives and Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Foreign Policy, Human Rights, and International Negotiation

Leading or Lagging? The Interplay between Multilateral Treaties and State Practice

Do treaties significantly shape state practice, or do they simply reflect already established rules and practices? International relations and law scholars have mostly focused on whether and how treaties changed state behaviour. In their paper, Umut Yüksel and Ezgi Yildiz propose to consider that patterns in state practice may precede and even enable the conclusion of multilateral treaties. This idea is not new to legal scholars. Yet, few studies have systematically examined how established state practice may influence treaty-making and vice versa. The paper analyses this interplay by tracing states’ views on continental shelf delimitation as evidenced in their domestic legislation and bilateral delimitation treaties. Its purpose is to understand the measure in which the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention has led to or followed an emerging interstate consensus about the method for drawing continental shelf boundaries. Its method and findings may shed light on developments in other domains of international relations where legal rules regulate behaviour prior to the establishment of treaty regimes.

US Human Rights Foreign Policy against Its Allies’ Authoritarian Crackdowns

This comparative study by Berfu Kiziltan and Tom Moerenhout investigates the interaction between liberal power-holders and states placed by the former in a client position when the subordinate commits human rights violations. Believed and expected to be the defender of liberal values, the study examines the conundrums liberal patrons face when the human rights violator is a close ally of the liberal state. Using grounded theory and process-tracing, it examines the case of US policies towards Turkey during its pre- and post-coup periods, including a second comparative case study to test the hypothesis. Inspired by George Simmel’s works on triad, the research puzzle aims to uncover the normative and cross-pressures that the liberal state faces by tracking the foreign policy debates, policy aims, justifications and goals to map a predictive foreign policy behaviour pattern. The study also proposes to shed more light on the conflict between human rights norms, state interests and roles

Between Neglect, Quick Settlements, and Persistent Disputes: Dynamics of Maritime Boundary‐Making

When and how do neighbouring states draw their maritime boundaries? Why do some enter into boundary disputes that persist over long periods of time? This paper by Umut Yüksel examines the variation in the ways in which pairs of coastal states have managed their maritime boundaries in the aftermath of the Second World War. He argues that state claims are likely to clash when law is uncertain. It examines the effects of legal uncertainty using an original dataset and finds that this uncertainty increases the rate at which states find themselves in maritime boundary disputes. However, legal certainty does not seem to affect the chances for boundary settlement. These findings are supported by case studies on the maritime boundary management histories of three pairs of states: Mexico-United States, Norway-Russia, and Greece-Turkey. The evidence points towards a clear impact of legal uncertainty on dispute onset. The cases also suggest that nonlegal factors may play a role in explaining why many boundaries remain unsettled.

Enduring Practices in Changing Circumstances: A Look into the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter‐American Court of Human Rights

This paper by Ezgi Yildiz takes a practice theory approach to understand how regional human rights traditions shape court practices. The analysis revolves around distinct courtroom practices surrounding the representation of victims and the role given to civil society organisations during the proceedings. It relies on evidence gathered through a series of interviews conducted at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) – two human rights systems created against the backdrop of different human rights traditions and societal needs. While the ECtHR’s main role was to stabilise “well-functioning” democracies, the IACtHR had to deal with cases pertaining to military dictatorships and democratic transitions. In this context, the IACtHR has assumed the role of a truth commission and gave a larger space to victims and civil society than the ECtHR. This set-up has persisted even though the ECtHR’s docket now includes cases coming from authoritarian contexts and transitional democracies.

Politics of Immigration and Refugee Crisis

Immigration Preferences among Latino Voters in the United States

What explains opposition to immigration among Latino voters? Studies on native white US voters suggest that prejudice, labour market competition, and sociotropic material threat are important predictors of hostility to immigrants and anti-immigrant policy preferences. However, less is known about how similar factors influence Latino attitudes toward immigration. In this paper, Mélanie Kolbe tests three theories of immigration attitudes (sociotropic material threat, individual level labour market threat, and prejudice) predicting Latinos’ attitudes toward undocumented immigrants and their preferences for immigrant admission levels. Employing data from the ANES 2012 and 2016 waves, respectively, her paper finds that robust and strong main effects of sociotropic material threat and prejudice are at play, but less evidence for the effect of acculturation and skin tone. This suggests that attitudes are equally distributed across Latino subgroups and that Latino immigration preferences are not that different from white US citizens.

Global Refugee Governance and the Gulf “Outsiders”: Response to the Neighbouring Refugee Crises

This study by Hirotaka Fujibayashi attempts to explore the roles of the Gulf States in the contemporary refugee governance with a particular focus on the recent neighbouring refugee-outflows from Iraq and Syria. Given that the membership of international refugee regime depends upon whether a country signs its legal basements such as the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, all of the six Gulf States fall “outside” of the regime. While these countries remain reluctant to own legal full-share of commitments to international refugee governance, there have been many cases of the “outsiders” participating in the international or regional refugee governance, mostly on ad hoc basis. The study extrapolates wider lessons about how the policies and general approaches of states outside of international refugee regime can contribute to the practical management of major refugee crises, due to the fact that the Gulf States have arguably functioned as something of a regional immigration hub for those mobile enough to escape political instability and insecurity in their own countries.

Upcoming Deadline

ISA Annual Convention 2020:
Call for Proposals

The 2020 Convention will be held on 25–28 March 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Submit your proposal until 1 June 2019 ❯