Normative Progress and Pathological Practices: The Modern State and Identity Politics

Author/s (editor/s):

Heather Rae

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 2002/3 (PDF, 3.80MB)

Heather Rae, ‘Normative Progress and Pathological Practices: The Modern State and Identity Politics’, IR Working Paper 2002/03, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, July 2002.

Over the last five centuries, as the system of states has developed, so too have norms of legitimate state behaviour. These reflect the struggle of the international community to respond to practices, such as forced displacement, ethnic cleansing or genocide, that have come to be regarded as unacceptable. While there has not been any smooth evolution of norms that proscribe such practices, in different periods norms of legitimate state behaviour have been articulated in response to the most extreme practices of state-builders. This paper traces such responses across four cases, drawn from both the early modern and modern periods, and highlights the interaction between the domestic and international aspects of state sovereignty that give rise to the articulation of shared norms of legitimate state behaviour.

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