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Why keep protecting the few without external incentives? Compliance with minority rights norms after attaining IO membership in Latvia and Georgia

Suleimanova, Neal (2017) Why keep protecting the few without external incentives? Compliance with minority rights norms after attaining IO membership in Latvia and Georgia. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.4fzqs5hqg0n3


While research on developments in minority rights field in the South and East European countries has shown that political incentives in the form of International Organization (IO) membership conditionality was a driving factor in facilitating transposition of minority rights norms into domestic legislation, compliance with IO recommendations post-conditionality remains a puzzle. This thesis contributes to the broader literature on ‘Europeanisation’ by first, examining transposition of and compliance with minority rights norms once the main ‘carrot’ of membership conditionality is consumed. Secondly, it presents a comparative perspective on adoption of minority rights reforms in EU and non-EU countries (Latvia and Georgia respectively). Last, by incorporating analysis of both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ processes of change, it contributes to the emerging research on the role of ‘bottom-up’ processes in Europeanization of domestic policies. This study shows that the influence of IOs on states after accession is very limited. However, it is not defunct. Adoption of the FCNM in both countries is explained in terms of the ruling government’s reputational concerns to safeguard an image of being ‘good European citizens.' In turn, reputational concerns, when and if present, were only effective to the extent of forging formal (as opposed to behavioural) compliance. Behavioural compliance, on the other hand, was tamed by the ruling government’s stance towards minorities and domestic political considerations (including domestic opposition to reforms). Importantly, this study also shows that bottom-up processes in the postaccession period take place indeed. While their effects on forging positive changes are limited, these processes are more influential in Latvia, rather than in Georgia. The study concludes that legacies of the communist past and their geographical location make the states in question subject to (sometimes) conflicting norms. It thus suggests, in addition to analyzing the influence of IO membership, the further research in the area should take the influence of other regional states/players into consideration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Neal Suleimanova
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Sedelmeier, Ulrich

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