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How Not to Be Seen: Highly Vulnerable States and the International Politics of Invisibility

How Not to Be Seen: Highly Vulnerable States and the International Politics of Invisibility Global Governance 22 (2016), 229–248 How Not to Be Seen: Highly Vulnerable States and the International Politics of Invisibility Valerie Freeland How do we know when a state has been socialized to an international norm? Through a case study of Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Com- mission, this article shows that not even voluntary compliance combined with material costs constitutes sufficient evidence of socialization. Highly vulnerable states, equally beholden to international donors and fractious domestic patronage networks, face restricted choice sets. They confront both compliance and overt noncompliance as equal existential threats, and their most important foreign policy goal becomes invisibility; that is, they must avoid attracting international attention. These states behave out- wardly like they have accepted the norm’s legitimacy, but their actions are rooted in a fundamentally different meaning that blocks socialization and has implications for the state system as a whole. Keywords: international norms, socialization, human rights. A CONVERSATION WITH A LONG-TIME OBSERVER OF SIERRA LEONEAN POLITICS has gone on a tangent. From time to time, he receives requests from North American students assigned to represent Sierra Leone in their school’s Model United Nations. What, they ask, is the country’s position on geneti- cally modified organisms, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations Brill

How Not to Be Seen: Highly Vulnerable States and the International Politics of Invisibility

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1075-2846
eISSN
1942-6720
DOI
10.1163/19426720-02202004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Global Governance 22 (2016), 229–248 How Not to Be Seen: Highly Vulnerable States and the International Politics of Invisibility Valerie Freeland How do we know when a state has been socialized to an international norm? Through a case study of Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Com- mission, this article shows that not even voluntary compliance combined with material costs constitutes sufficient evidence of socialization. Highly vulnerable states, equally beholden to international donors and fractious domestic patronage networks, face restricted choice sets. They confront both compliance and overt noncompliance as equal existential threats, and their most important foreign policy goal becomes invisibility; that is, they must avoid attracting international attention. These states behave out- wardly like they have accepted the norm’s legitimacy, but their actions are rooted in a fundamentally different meaning that blocks socialization and has implications for the state system as a whole. Keywords: international norms, socialization, human rights. A CONVERSATION WITH A LONG-TIME OBSERVER OF SIERRA LEONEAN POLITICS has gone on a tangent. From time to time, he receives requests from North American students assigned to represent Sierra Leone in their school’s Model United Nations. What, they ask, is the country’s position on geneti- cally modified organisms,

Journal

Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International OrganizationsBrill

Published: Aug 19, 2016

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