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The life of norms: a critical assessment of the construction and diffusion of the race anti-discrimination norm

Ivanova, Katya (2016) The life of norms: a critical assessment of the construction and diffusion of the race anti-discrimination norm. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

This thesis examines the genesis and evolution of the anti-discrimination norm directed at race and ethnicity. The thesis seeks to answer: how is the antidiscrimination norm linked to race and ethnicity produced and diffused transnationally and how is it internalised in domestic institutions and government practices? The inquiry mainly assesses the constructivist model of the norm life cycle proposed by Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink. The model presents the development of international norms as a process that consists of three stages: emergence, cascading and domestic internalisation driven by three different sets of actors who employ different mechanisms to bring about normative change. The thesis investigates and ultimately challenges certain assumptions of the proposed model by examining the factors that account for the construction and domestic institutionalisation of the racial anti-discrimination norm in five contexts – the USA (First and Second Reconstruction periods, 1865-1877 and 1954-1975), the UK (1960s-1970s), the EU (1990s-2000s), the Czech Republic (1990s- present) and Hungary (1990s-present). It uses process tracing to re-consider and problematise the model’s claims about the primary agents that drive the production and the institutionalisation of the anti-discrimination norm in each of the five cases, their motives and the mechanisms they employ to facilitate normative change. The thesis disputes several of the main assumptions of Finnemore and Sikkink’s model. The findings demonstrate that national political elites are a key factor that determines the progress of the racial anti-discrimination norm in each stage of the norm life cycle model. They also problematise the ideational basis for the motives of norm entrepreneurs, which, in fact, consist of a complex mixture of ideational and instrumental considerations. The thesis further develops the stages of the norm life cycle model. It challenges the overall design of the model and its assumed linear progression of norm evolution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Katya Ivanova
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: Jackson-Preece, Jennifer and Gordon, Claire
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3390

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