This article introduces international icons to the field of International Relations. International icons are freestanding images that are widely circulated, recognised, and emotionally responded to. International icons come in the form of foreign policy icons familiar to a specific domestic audience, regional icons, and global icons. Icons do not speak foreign policy in and of themselves rather their meaning is constituted in discourse. Images rise to the status of international icons in part through images that appropriate the icon itself, either in full or through inserting parts of the icon into new images. Appropriations might be used and read as critical interventions into foreign policy debates, but such readings should themselves be subjected to analysis. A three-tier analytical and methodological framework for studying international icons is presented and applied in a case study of the hooded prisoner widely claimed to be emblematic of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
Norm dynamics studies typically accord a special status to norm entrepreneurs, actors who promote new global norms. But conceptually privileging these agents of change has meant the norm dynamics literature has become unbalanced and marred by case selection bias. Accordingly, an oppositional role - the norm antipreneur' - should be recognised to correct these problems. When the normative status quo in an issue-area is entrenched, a clear distinction can be drawn between the entrepreneurs and antipreneurs, because in these contexts the antipreneurs enjoy significant but under-appreciated tactical and strategic advantages. Recognising this enables the construction of a norm dynamics role-spectrum - a sort of typology of roles' - including competitor entrepreneur' and creative resister' in addition to the entrepreneur and antipreneur roles which actors might play in particular norm contestation contexts. Understanding these roles promises to improve analyses of the dynamic interactions between actors in particular norm contestation processes, thereby bringing greater overall balance to the norm dynamics literature. (1
Social legitimacy is central to the effectiveness of international organisations (IOs). Yet, so far, we have little systematic knowledge about what drives citizens to support or oppose IOs. In this article, we isolate and assess three alternative explanations of social legitimacy in global governance, privileging interest representation, institutional performance, and confidence extrapolation. We test these theories in a multilevel analysis of citizen confidence in the United Nations (UN) using World Values Survey and European Values Study data, supplemented by contextual measures. The results grant support to the arguments that institutional performance and confidence extrapolation shape popular confidence in the UN, while offering little support for the explanation of interest representation. These findings challenge the predominant understanding that more democratic procedures lead to greater social legitimacy for IOs. Instead, the UN case suggests that the social legitimacy of IOs is based primarily on the organisations' capacity to deliver, as well as on citizens' general confidence in political institutions, which IOs may have little to do with and can do little to change.
Benchmarking practices have rapidly diffused throughout the globe in recent years. This can be traced to their popularity amongst non-state actors, such as civil society organisations and corporate actors, as well as states and international organisations (IOs). Benchmarks serve to both neutralise' and universalise' a range of overlapping normative values and agendas, including freedom of speech, democracy, human development, environmental protection, poverty alleviation, modern' statehood, and free' markets. The proliferation of global benchmarks in these key areas amounts to a comprehensive normative vision regarding what various types of transnational actors should look like, what they should value, and how they should behave. While individual benchmarks routinely differ in terms of scope and application, they all share a common foundation, with normative values and agendas being translated into numerical representations through simplification and extrapolation, commensuration, reification, and symbolic judgements. We argue that the power of benchmarks chiefly stems from their capacity to create the appearance of authoritative expertise on the basis of forms of quantification and numerical representation. This politics of numbers paves the way for the exercise of various forms of indirect power, or governance at a distance', for the purposes of either status quo legitimation or political reform.
Hybridity has emerged recently as a key response in International Relations and peace studies to the crisis of liberal peace. Attributing the failures of liberal peacebuilding to a lack of legitimacy deriving from uncompromising efforts to impose a rigid market democratic state model on diverse populations emerging from conflict, the hybrid peace approach locates the possibility of a radical', post-liberal, and emancipatory peace in the agency of the local and the everyday and hybrid' formations of international/liberal and local/non-liberal institutions, practices, and values. However, this article argues, hybrid peace, emerging as an attempt to resolve a problem of difference and alterity specific to the context in which the crisis of liberal peacebuilding manifests, is a problem-solving tool for the encompassment and folding into globalising liberal order of cultural, political, and social orders perceived as radically different and obstructionist to its expansion. Deployed at the very point this expansion is beset by resistance and crisis, hybrid peace reproduces the liberal peace's logics of inclusion and exclusion, and through a reconfiguration of the international interface with resistant local' orders, intensifies the governmental and biopolitical reach of liberal peace for their containment, transformation, and assimilation.
How can the materialist turn' contribute to the reshaping of critical geopolitics? This article draws attention to the limits of an approach that emphasises the representational, cultural, and interpretive dimensions of geopolitics, while acknowledging the difficulties of an ontological shift to materiality for many scholars of critical geopolitics. It draws on the work of Karen Barad and Annemarie Mol in order to advance three arguments for the reshaping of critical geopolitics as a field of research. First, it argues for an approach to the analysis of power that examines materialdiscursive intra-actions and that cuts across various ontological, analytical, and disciplinary divides. Second, it argues for an analysis of boundary-production that focuses on the mutual enactment or co-constitution of subjects, objects, and environments rather than on performance. Third, it argues for an analytical approach that engages the terrain of geopolitics in terms of a multiplicity of cuts' that trouble simplifying geopolitical imaginations along with the clear-cut boundaries that these often imply. In so doing, the article makes the case for a more-than-human approach that does not overstate the efficacy of matter, but rather that engages processes of materialisation and dematerialisation without assuming materiality to be a determinant force.
This article critically investigates the growing power and effectiveness of the ethical' compliance audit regime. Over the last decade, audits have evolved from a tool for companies to track internal organisational performance into a transnational governing mechanism to measure and strengthen corporate accountability globally and shape corporate responsibility norms. Drawing on original interviews, we assess the effectiveness of supply chain benchmarks and audits in promoting environmental and social improvements in global retail supply chains. Two principal arguments emerge from our analysis. First, that audits can be best understood as a productive form of power, which codifies and legitimates retail corporations' poor social and environmental records, and shapes state approaches to supply chain governance. Second, that growing public and government trust in audit metrics ends up concealing real problems in global supply chains. Retailers are, in fact, auditing only small portions of supply chains, omitting the portions of supply chains where labour and environmental abuse are most likely to take place. Furthermore, the audit regime tends to address labour and environmental issues very unevenly, since people' are more difficult to classify and verify through numbers than capital and product quality.
This article intends to contribute to the theorising of institutional change. Specifically, it asks how dynamics in the deep structure' of international society correspond to changes in more specific institutions as embodied by regimes and international organisations. It does so by taking up the distinction of primary and secondary institutions in international society advocated by scholars of the English School. It argues that, while the differentiation offers analytical potential, the School has largely failed to study secondary institutions such as international organisations and regimes as autonomous objects of analysis, seeing them as mere materialisations of primary institutions. Engaging with the concepts of structuration and path dependence will allow scholars working in an English School framework to explore more deeply the relation between the two kinds of institutions, and as a consequence devise more elaborate theories of institutional change. Based on this argument, the article develops a theoretical model that sees primary and secondary institutions entangled in distinctive processes of constitution and institutionalisation. This model helps to establish international organisations and regimes as a crucial part of the English School agenda, and to enlighten the political mechanisms that lead to continuity and change in international institutions more broadly.
This article investigates the recent New Materialisms' turn in social and political thought and asks what the potential theoretical and methodological significance might be for the study of International Relations (IR). To do so we return to debates about the theoretical status of discourse in IR as it is in this context that the question of materiality - particularly as it relates to language - has featured prominently in recent years. While the concept of discourse is increasingly narrow in IR, the New Materialisms' literature emphasises the political force of materiality beyond language and representation. However, a move to reprioritise the politics of materiality over that of language and representation is equally problematic since it perpetuates rather than challenges the notion of a prior distinction between language and materiality. In response, we draw on earlier poststructural thought in order to displace this dichotomy and articulate an extended understanding of what analysing discourse' might mean in the study of IR.
It is often suggested that Western peacebuilding in the occupied Palestinian territory has failed because it has not delivered a viable Palestinian state. But if peacebuilding is reinterpreted as a form of counterinsurgency whose goal is to secure a population, then it has not failed - in fact, on the contrary, it has been quite successful. This article therefore critically evaluates the idea and practice of peacebuilding as counterinsurgency by exploring the symbiosis in the philosophy and methods of COIN and peacebuilding, and charts its implementation in the oPt through the realms of governance, development, and security. It argues that peacebuilding in this context operates as another layer of pacification techniques whose goal is to secure the Palestinian population and ensure acquiescence in the face of violent dispossession.
Over the last decade there has been a shift towards critical understandings of liberal peace' approaches to international intervention, which argue that local culture holds the key to the effectiveness of peace interventions. In this bottom-up' approach, peace, reconciliation, and a culture of law' then become secondary effects of sociocultural norms and values. However, these liberal peace critiques have remained trapped in the paradox of liberal peace: the inability to go beyond the binaries of liberal universalism and cultural relativism. This understanding will be contrasted with the rise of resilience' approaches to intervention - which build on this attention to the particular context of application but move beyond this paradox through philosophical pragmatism and the focus on concrete social practices. This article clarifies the nature of this shift through the focus on the shifting understanding of international intervention to address the failings of the war on drugs' in the Americas.
There is a perceived legitimacy deficit in contemporary international society. A symptom of this is the political contestation surrounding the 2011 Libyan crisis and its influence on the 2011-13 Syrian crisis. This involved criticism being levelled at the coalition led by the so-called Permanent-3 for the way they implemented the protection of civilians mandate, as well as for the referral of the Libyan situation to the International Criminal Court. How the P3 respond to these developments will be driven in part by how this legitimacy fault line' is interpreted. The purpose of this article is to first give an interpretation that is informed by the work of contemporary English School scholars and the political theorists they draw on; and second to provide the context in which specific policy recommendations may guide the response of the P3 states. We argue that because the new legitimacy fault line divides on the procedural question of who decides how international society should meet its responsibilities rather than substantive disagreements about what those responsibilities are (that is, human protection and justice) the challenge to the liberal agenda of the P3 is not radical. However, we also argue that ignoring the procedural concerns of the African and BRICS states is not outcome neutral and could in fact do harm to both the ICC and the wider implementation of R2P. We consider two proposals for procedural reform and examine how the P3 response would impact on their claim to be good international citizens.
Non-governmental organisations use benchmarks as a form of symbolic violence to place political pressure on firms, states, and international organisations. The development of benchmarks requires three elements: (1) salience, that the community of concern is aware of the issue and views it as important; (2) will, that activists and issue entrepreneurs will carry the message forward; and (3) expertise, that benchmarks created can be defended as accurate representations of what is happening on the issue of concern. We contrast two types of benchmarking cycles where salience, will, and expertise are put to the test. The first is a reformist benchmarking cycle where organisations defer to experts to create a benchmark that conforms with the broader system of politico-economic norms. The second is a revolutionary benchmarking cycle driven by expert-activists that seek to contest strong vested interests and challenge established politico-economic norms. Differentiating these cycles provides insights into how activists work through organisations and with expert networks, as well as how campaigns on complex economic issues can be mounted and sustained.
This article demonstrates that a national identity defined by a normative commitment to peace is not necessarily an antidote to remilitarisation and war. More specifically, the article takes issue with the debate about the trajectory of Japan's security and defence policy. One strand of the debate holds that Japan is normatively committed to peace while the other claims that Japan is in the process of remilitarising. This article argues that the two positions are not mutually exclusive - a point that has been overlooked in the literature. The article uses discourse analysis to trace how 'peace' was discussed in debates about China in the Japanese Diet in 1972 and 2009-12. It demonstrates how rearticulations by right wing discourses in the latter period have depicted peace as something that must be defended actively, and thus as compatible with remilitarisation or military normalisation. Japan's changing peace identity could undermine rather than stabilise peaceful relations with its East Asian neighbours.
Global benchmarks have grown exponentially over the last two decades, having been both applied to and developed by states, international organisations, corporations, and non-governmental organisations. As a consequence, global benchmarking is now firmly established as a distinct mode of transnational governance. Benchmarking chiefly involves the development of comparative metrics of performance, which typically take the form of highly stylised comparisons which are generated by translating complex phenomena into numerical values via simplification and extrapolation, commensuration, reification, and symbolic judgements. This process of translation takes what might otherwise be highly contentious normative agendas and converts them into formats that gain credibility through rhetorical claims to neutral and technocratic assessment. This politics of numbers has far-reaching ramifications for transnational governance, including the dimensions and effects of indirect power, expertise and agenda-setting, coordination, regulation and certification, and norm contestation and activism. This Special Issue draws upon an emerging literature to explore how and why benchmarks both align with and expand upon established models of International Relations theory and scholarship. It does so by critically examining the role of global benchmarks in key areas such as state failure', global supply chains, disaster management, economic governance, corporate social responsibility, and human development.
Tackling germs, negotiating norms, and securing access to medicines are persistent challenges that disproportionally affect developing countries' participation in global health governance. Furthermore, over the last two decades, the excessive focus on global pandemics and security in global health diplomacy, rendered peripheral diseases that usually strike the poor and vulnerable, creating situations of marginalisation and inequality across societies. However, as the importance of regions and regionalism increases in global politics, and integration ambitions and initiatives extend beyond trade and investment to embrace welfare policy, there are new opportunities to explore whether and how regional commitments affect health equity and access to medicine in developing nations. What, if any, are the possibilities for meso-level institutions to provide leadership and direction in support of alternative practices of global (health) governance? Can regional polities become international advocacy actors in support of global justice goals? This article addresses these questions by analysing regional health diplomacy in South America. The article argues that regional organisations can become sites for collective action and pivotal actors in the advocacy of rights (to health) enabling diplomatic and strategic options to member state and nonstate actors, and playing a role as deal-broker in international organisations by engaging in new forms of regional health diplomacy.
This article challenges conventional narratives that suggest that the travails in the Doha Round, the shift to bilateral free trade agreements, and the broader unfolding of the global crisis collectively presage the decline of either the WTO or the broader institution of multilateral trade. We question the extent to which recent trends can indeed be said to constitute a genuine crisis of trade multilateralism by reflecting upon the contradictory and ambiguous nature of the multilateralism of the past, and also upon how contemporary multilateralism has been framed with reference to it. Our main finding is that, in contrast to the many short and medium-term symptoms which tend to appear in the conventional story of multilateral decline, there is actually a far more worrying long-term trend which underpins the varied conflicts that characterise contemporary trade politics: the fundamental lack of a shared social purpose between the developed countries and the more powerful emerging countries on which a stable, equitable, and legitimate edifice of multilateral trade rules can be erected, institutionalised, and enhanced.
In this article, we reintroduce the political thought of James Arthur Salter (1881-1975), a British diplomat, politician, and university professor, who made a seminal contribution to the emergence of International Relations theory in the interwar years. His academic writings were informed by his professional engagement with the Allied Maritime Transport Council (AMTC) during the First World War and the technical branches of the League of Nations. Salter promoted a distinctly transgovernmental form of expert cooperation in international advisory bodies connected to national ministries. His vision of a depoliticised transnational expertocracy inspired various IR functionalists, not least David Mitrany. Salter suggested such forms of governance also for British national politics, drawing what we call here an 'international analogy'. His work illustrates very well how the emergence of IR theory was connected to broader trends in political theory, in particular in efforts at adapting democracy to the increasing complexities of industrial modernity.
We seek to reinvigorate and clarify the Copenhagen School's insight that 'security' is not 'a sign that refers to something more real; the utterance ['security'] itself is the act'. We conceptualise the utterances of securitising actors as consisting not in arguments so much as in repetitive spouting of ambiguous phrases (WMD, rogue states, ethnic cleansing). We further propose that audience acceptance consists not in persuasion so much as in joining the securitising actors in a ritualised chanting of the securitising phrase. Rather than being performed to, the audience participates in the performance in the manner in which a crowd at a rock concert sings along with the artists. We illustrate our argument with a discussion of how the ritualised chanting of the phrase 'weapons of mass destruction' during the run-up to the Iraq War ultimately produced the grave Iraqi threat that it purportedly described.
Scholars from the recent practice turn' in International Relations have urged us to rethink the international realm in terms of practices. The principal exponents of the turn, Emanuel Adler and Vincent Pouliot, have refurbished Pierre Bourdieu's theory of practice to produce their own account of international practices. In a review of the practice turn, Chris Brown has argued that Bourdieu's notion of practice shares basic affinities with Aristotle's concept of praxis. While practice turn scholars may not adhere to a rigid canon of thought, they seem to share an Aristotelian conception of praxis. This reading of the turn to practice, though plausible, captures one part of the story. The central thesis of the present article is that instead of one there are two, distinctive conceptions of practice - Aristotelian and Wittgensteinian - and therefore two distinctive ways in which the character of international practices might be understood. More concretely, the aim is to show that the conception of international practices, rooted in Wittgenstein's view of practices as language-games, can be particularly illuminating to all those who seek to understand international relations.