From Norm Contestation to Norm Implementation: Recursivity and the Responsibility to Protect

Image: UN Photo/Andrea Brizzi

Event details

IR Seminar Series

Date & time

Monday 09 October 2017


SDSC Reading Room, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Dr Cecilia Jacob


Bell School
+61 2 6125 8533

This presentation responds to the burgeoning norms literature in International Relations (IR) that conceptualises the norm life-cycle as a non-linear dynamic process that is open to contestation and change of ‘meanings in use’. There are limitations to this second generation of norms theory, most crucially in the identification of agency and process through which dialogue occurs and change is enacted. In this presentation I claim that in order to conceptualise the move from norm contestation as dialogic process to norm implementation as a process that weaves norms into the fabric of institutions in their day-to-day politics and routine practices, there is a need to bring IR norms theory into a fruitful engagement with sociological theory on lawmaking. Socio-legal approaches account for institutional processes that move towards the firming up of norms even if hard law status is not the formal objective. In this seminar I apply a socio-legal framework of the recursivity of lawmaking to better understand the current diversification of R2P implementation efforts across the UN and at the national level to make this argument.

Cecilia Jacob is Research Fellow in the Department of International Relations at The Australian National University. Her work focuses on civilian protection, internal conflict and political violence in South and Southeast Asia, and international norms of sovereign responsibility and protection. Her books include Child Security in Asia: The Impact of Armed Conflict in Cambodia and Myanmar (Routledge, 2014) and (co-edited with Alistair D.B. Cook) Civilian Protection in the Twenty-First Century: Governance and Responsibility in a Fragmented World (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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