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ISW Journal

Literature from Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (ISW)

Comments Off on Normalizing the norm: The development of the Responsibility to Protect as an international norm

Eva Kieft - illustratieEva Kieft – This study illustrates the presence of both realist and liberal discourse in the use of R2P as an international norm. An interdisciplinary approach is used to put R2P in a broader political and historical context. Additionally, a sociological model on international norm dynamics gave a thorough understanding on the normative position of R2P as being partly socialized but not yet internalized. Because the norm has been used very inconsistently between 2004-2015, this study explores the way in which both discourses influence the internalization of R2P. To this end, firstly a quantitative content analysis has been conducted on four cases, two in which R2P can be referred and two in which R2P has been invoked. Results showed that both realist and liberal discourse have been present in the four cases. However, the liberal discourse appeared to be dominant and had a greater capacity than the realist discourse. In the analysis of press releases a clear socialization act has been performed to adhere the international community to the UN’s normative stances, which were endorsed as legitimate international behavior. Secondly, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with experts in the field of R2P. Resulting from this, the realist discourse impedes, and the liberal discourse improves the internalization of R2P as an international norm. Hence, this study showed that R2P has been an attempt to govern international security by redefining the responsibility of both nation-states and the international community (Bellamy & Wheeler, 2011 p.521). Following the interviews, in order to internalize R2P as an international norm, the liberal discourse should be enhanced and realist discourse should abate.


Conflict Studies Theses