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

In: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations
Author: Cecilia Jacob
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This article contributes to the burgeoning norms literature in international relations that conceptualizes the norm life cycle as a nonlinear dynamic process that is open to contestation and change of “meanings in use.” There are limitations to this second generation of norms theory, however, most crucially in the identification of agency and process through which dialogue occurs and change is enacted. This article claims that to conceptualize 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. Sociolegal approaches account for institutional processes that move toward the firming up of norms even if hard law status is not the formal objective. This article applies a sociolegal framework of the recursivity of lawmaking to better understand the current diversification of responsibility to protect implementation efforts across the UN and at the national level.