Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

World Political Science

Ed. by Cardinal, Linda


CiteScore 2018: 0.35

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.207
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.349

Online
ISSN
2363-4782
See all formats and pricing
More options …

From the Heart of Darkness: Critical Reading and Genuine Listening in Constructivist Norm Research

A Reply to Stephan Engelkamp, Katharina Glaab, and Judith Renner

Nicole Deitelhoff
  • Corresponding author
  • Goethe University Frankfurt/Main – Department of Social Sciences, Grüneburgplatz 1, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Lisbeth Zimmermann
  • Goethe University Frankfurt/Main – Department of Social Sciences, Grüneburgplatz 1, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-05-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wpsr-2014-0003

Abstract

In their article on critical norm research, Stephan Engelkamp, Katharina Glaab, and Judith Renner propose a poststructuralist, hegemony-critical program. They contrast it with an affirmative mainstream in constructivist norm research, which they argue is oblivious to power, unreflective, and Eurocentric. Therefore, they make a case for a program that unmasks hegemonic values, reconstructs and strengthens non-Western, local values, and reflects more systematically on its own position in the process of truth production. We show based on three points that the proposed program is not fruitful for a truly “critical” form of norm research: (1) it distorts the weaknesses and achievements of constructivist norm research, (2) it rewards an unreflected use of the terms “Western” and “local,” and (3) it lacks the necessary instruments for subjecting political processes to normative reflection.

Keywords: constructivism; critical theory; norms; post-structuralism; power

References

  • Acharya, Amitav (2004) “How Ideas Spread: Whose Norms Matter? Norm Localization and Institutional Change in Asian Regionalism,” International Organization, 58(2):239–275.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Acharya, Amitav (2011) “Norm Subsidiarity and Regional Orders: Sovereignty, Regionalism, and Rule-Making in the Third World,” International Studies Quarterly, 55(1):95–123.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Barnett, Michael and Raymond Duvall (2005) “Power in International Politics,” International Organization, 59(1):39–75.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Celikates, Robin (2009) Kritik als soziale Praxis. Gesellschaftliche Selbstverständigung und kritische Theorie. Campus: Frankfurt a.M.Google Scholar

  • Checkel, Jeffrey T. (1999) “Norms, Institutions, and National Identity in Contemporary Europe,” International Studies Quarterly, 43(1):83–114.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Conrad, Sebastian and Shalini Randeria (2002) Jenseits des Eurozentrismus: postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften. Frankfurt a.M.Google Scholar

  • Deitelhoff, Nicole (2006) Überzeugung in der Politik. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M.Google Scholar

  • Deitelhoff, Nicole (2009) “The Discursive Process of Legalization: Charting Islands of Persuasion in the ICC Case,” International Organization, 63(1):33–65.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ehrmann, Jeanette (2009) “Traveling, Translating and Transplating Human Rights. Zur Kritik der Menschenrechte aus postkolonial-feministischer Perspektive,“ Femina Politica, 2:84–95.Google Scholar

  • Engelkamp, Stephan, Katharina Glaab and Judith Renner (2012) “In der Sprechstunde. Wie (kritische) Normenforschung ihre Stimme wiederfinden kann,“ Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 19(2):101–128.Google Scholar

  • Finnemore, Martha (2008) “Paradoxes in Humanitarian Intervention.” In: (Richard Price, ed.) Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 197–224.Google Scholar

  • Finnemore, Martha and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change,” International Organization, 52(4):887–917.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Garfinkel, Harold (1984) Studies in Ethnomethodology. Malden, MA: Polity.Google Scholar

  • Keck, Margaret E. and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

  • Kelley, Judith (2004) “International Actors on the Domestic Scene: Membership Conditionality and Socialization by International Institutions,” International Organization, 58(3):425–457.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kelsall, Tim (2005) “Truth, Lies, Ritual: Preliminary Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Sierra Leone,” Human Rights Quarterly, 27(2):361–391.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Klotz, Audi (1995) Norms in International Relations: The Struggle against Apartheid, Ithaca. NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar

  • Kronsell, Annica (2006) “Methods for Studying Silences: Gender Analysis in Institutions of Hegemonic Masculinity,” In: (Brooke A. Ackerly, Maria Stern and Jacqui True, eds.) Feminist Methodology for International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 108–128.Google Scholar

  • Merry, Sally Engle (2006) Human Rights & Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Mutua, Makau (2001) “Savages, Victims, and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights,” Harvard International Law Journal, 42(1):201–245.Google Scholar

  • Nussbaum, Martha (2011) Creating Capabilities: the Human Development Approach. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Park-Kang, Sungju (2011) “Utmost Listening: Feminist IR as a Foreign Language,” Millennium, 39(3):861–877.Google Scholar

  • Price, Richard (1995) “A Genealogy of the Chemical Weapons Taboo,” International Organization, 49(1):73–103.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Price, Richard (1998) “Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Targets Land Mines,” International Organization, 52(3):613–644.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Price, Richard (ed.) (2008a) Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Price, Richard (2008b) “Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics,” In: (Richard Price, ed.) Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–52.Google Scholar

  • Price, Richard M., Jack Snyder, Leslie Vinjamuri, Toni Erskine, Nicholas Rengger (2012) “Special Forum on Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics,” International Theory, 4(3):430–434.Google Scholar

  • Reus-Smit, Christian (2001) “Human Rights and the Social Construction of Sovereignty,” Review of International Studies, 27(4):519–538.Google Scholar

  • Reus-Smit, Christian (2008) “Constructivism and the Structure of Ethical Reasoning.” In: (Richard Price, ed.) Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 53–82.Google Scholar

  • Risse, Thomas (2004) “Global Governance and Communicative Action,” Government and Opposition, 39(2):288–313.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Risse, Thomas and Kathryn Sikkink (1999) “The Socialization of International Human Rights Norms into Domestic Practices: Introduction.” In: (Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink, eds.) The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–38.Google Scholar

  • Risse, Thomas and Stephen C. Ropp (2013) “Introduction and Overview.” In: (Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink, eds.) The Persistent Power of Human Rights. From Commitment to Compliance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 3–25.Google Scholar

  • Risse, Thomas, Stephen Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink (1999) The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Robertson, Roland (1995) “Glocalization: Time-Space and Homogeneity-Heterogeneity.” In: (Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash, Roland Robertson, eds.) Global Modernities. London: Sage, pp. 25–44.Google Scholar

  • Sandholtz, Wayne and Kendall W. Stiles (2009) International Norms and Cycles of Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Schimmelfennig, Frank and Ulrich Sedelmeier (2004) “Governance by Conditionality: EU Rule Transfer to the Candidate Countries of Central and Eastern Europe,” Journal of European Public Policy, 11(4):661–679.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Schimmelfennig, Frank, Stefan Engert and Heiko Knobel (2006) International Socialization in Europe: European Organizations, Political Conditionality and Democratic Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Shaw, Rosalind (2005) Rethinking Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Lessons from Sierra Leone. United States Institute of Peace, Special Report 130, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar

  • Shaw, Rosalind (2010) “Linking Justice with Reintegration? Ex-Combatants and the Sierra Leone Experiment.” In: (Rosalind Shaw and Lars Waldorf, eds.) Localizing Transitional Justice: Intervention and Priorities after Mass Violence. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp.111–132.Google Scholar

  • Sikkink, Kathryn (2008) “The Role of Consequences, Comparison and Counterfactuals in Constructivist Ethical Thought,” In: (Richard Price, eds.) Moral Limit and Possibility in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 83–111.Google Scholar

  • Sikkink, Kathryn (2012): Interview, in: http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2012/09/podcast-no-9-interview-with-kathryn.html; 14.2.2013.

  • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (1988) “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In: (Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, eds.) Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 271–313.Google Scholar

  • Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2004) “Righting Wrongs,” The South Atlantic Quarterly, 103(2/3):523–581.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ulbert, Cornelia (2012) “Vom Klang vieler Stimmen: Herausforderungen »kritischer« Normenforschung. Eine Replik auf Stephan Engelkamp, Katharina Glaab und Judith Renner,“ Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen, 19(2):129–139.Google Scholar

  • Vachudová, Milada Anna (2005) Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage, and Integration after Communism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Wiener, Antje (2004) “Contested Compliance: Interventions on the Normative Structure of World Politics,” European Journal of International Relations, 10(2):189–234.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wiener, Antje (2008) The Invisible Constitution of Politics: Contested Norms and International Encounters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Zimmermann, Lisbeth (2012) Global Norms with a Local Face? The Interaction of Rule of Law Promotion and Norm Translation in Guatemala, Dissertation TU Darmstadt, MS.Google Scholar

  • Zwingel, Susanne (2012) “How Do Norms Travel? Theorizing International Women’s Rights in Transnational Perspective,” International Studies Quarterly, 56(1):115–129.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Corresponding author: Nicole Deitelhoff, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main – Department of Social Sciences, Grüneburgplatz 1, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany, e-mail:


Published Online: 2014-05-07

Published in Print: 2014-04-01


See Wiener (2004, 2008), Sandholtz and Stiles (2009), Reus-Smit (2001), Acharya (2004, 2011), Ulbert (2012: pp. 133–134).

See Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier (2004), Schimmelfennig, et al. (2006), Kelley (2004), Vachudová (2005).

It has also given rise to a lively debate; see, for example, the Special Forum in International Theory (Price et al., 2012).

There is conceptual blurring not only in the case of the concepts of the West and the “local.” The concepts of norms, knowledge, and values are nowhere explicated either. Can these be used interchangeably or do they refer to different things?

For this criticism, see Acharya (2004), Deitelhoff (2006: p. 74), criticizing, for example, Checkel (1999).

Not unlike the accusation directed against the human rights movement of wanting to be “saviors” of non-Western “victims” against non-Western “savages” (Mutua 2001), here one could fabricate the analogous accusation that critical norm researchers have to rescue the “non-Western others” from the clutches of sinister constructivist norm research.

This account is also difficult to reconcile with the anti-essentialist ontology and antifoundationalist epistemology of the poststructuralist approach that the authors want to stand up for (Engelkamp et al. 2012: p. 111).

Bertolt Brecht, Threepenny Opera, “Mack the Knife.”

This term was used by Foucault to describe the suppression of knowledge in discourse and was subsequently popularized by Spivak in particular, who specifically wanted to demonstrate the involvement of the French poststructuralists in the epistemic violence of postcolonial relations (1988).

We are grateful to one of the referees for pointing this out.

Making decisions is in this sense the essence of agency as such.

On the controversy between critical social research and the sociology of critique, see Celikates 2009: p. 25.


Citation Information: World Political Science Review, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 17–31, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2194-6248, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wpsr-2014-0003.

Export Citation

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

[1]
Felix Anderl
The Review of International Organizations, 2016, Volume 11, Number 2, Page 197

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in