Since the end of the Cold War, the UN has extended many of its missions in conflict zones to include political, military, and humanitarian activities. Many humanitarian nongovernmental organizations have been critical of these “integrated” UN missions, claiming that they can blur the distinction between political, military, and humanitarian action, thus placing humanitarian aid workers at risk of retaliation from warring factions opposed to the UN’s political objectives. This proposition is empirically tested using generalized methods of moments statistical analysis of sixty-seven countries that experienced intrastate conflict between 1997 and 2018. When assessing attacks in general—to include the sum of aid workers killed, wounded, and kidnapped—the results indicate that humanitarian aid workers are more likely to come under attack in countries that have an integrated UN mission. However, when the attacks are assessed separately, results show that this relationship holds only with aid workers who are killed in the field.
This article investigates the stark variation in elite appraisals of the performance of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Based on an online survey of diplomats posted to the UN headquarters, this article determines which country situations under ICC scrutiny respondents regard as successes or failures and, in turn, what parameters underpin their views. It also asks about negative cases; that is, country situations that never made it to The Hague due to political considerations. This article makes a two-fold contribution to the study of international law and politics. First, it shows that diplomats conceptualize international justice in terms of ongoing prosecutions and convictions obtained. Thus, they downplay indirect effects such as positive complementarity. Interestingly, scholars and diplomats agree on the court’s fiascos, yet dissent on successes. Finally, diplomats have proved tired of political considerations obstructing international justice. Survey data reveals that they want the court to investigate situations involving major powers.
This article assesses recent UN reforms to enhance the organization’s capacity to prevent violent conflict. These reforms target crucial inefficiencies within the UN that have hampered effective preventive and protection practices in violent conflict and atrocities. The article argues that state actors have viewed the reform process as a site of norm contestation, and negotiations have created an avenue for compromises on the centrality of human rights and political backstopping of UN missions in volatile field contexts that are vital to better prevention and protection outcomes. Contestation by state actors is significant in steering the outcomes of institutional reform as states advance their normative agendas, and seek to integrate these preferences into new institutional structures that are open to negotiation through the reform process. A broad assessment of these reforms confirms the move toward a more pragmatic vision of peace and security in the UN to accommodate global power shifts.
Streaming services for audiobooks and ebooks have grown rapidly in recent years. The shift in consumption patterns has transformed both reading and publishing. One visible change is the attraction and importance of backlist titles. The article investigates how the relationship between frontlist and backlist in the bestseller segment has developed, and discusses the shift in the power balance between the two. By examining large-scale consumer behaviour data (6.23 million streams) from one of the key players in subscription-based digital bookselling – Storytel – we track book consumption both in detail and at a structural level. Our results show that backlist titles are increasingly important for bestselling authors who continue to publish frontlist titles, especially for fiction written in series. Streaming services foster new types of book consumption behaviour thanks to a combination of technology, media, reading habits, and social change.
Online book fairs are being held in Vietnam to replace traditional offline events that have been shelved owing to the COVID-19 crisis. This study aims to explore book consumers’ perceptions regarding digital book fairs and their evaluation of the first-ever national online book fair held in Vietnam. In-depth interviews were conducted to obtain insights from people who had attended the online book event. The findings provide acceptance of and support for the organization of digital book fairs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees generally appreciated the convenience of the national online book fair and the promotional programmes offered by various publishers and distributors. Furthermore, some attendees enjoyed the novelty of the event and the feeling of being included in the reading community. Nevertheless, most of the attendees highlighted several limitations, especially the lack of social and face-to-face interaction. These findings have implications for online book fair organizers, publishers, and book distributors alike.