Gholiagha, Sassan Holzscheiter, Anna Liese, Andrea
Year of Publication:
[Journal:] Global Constitutionalism [ISSN:] 2045-3825 [Publisher:] Cambridge University Press [Place:] Cambridge [Volume:] 9 [Year:] 2020 [Issue:] 2 [Pages:] 290-317
This article puts forward a constructivist-interpretivist approach to interface conflicts that emphasises how international actors articulate and problematise norm collisions in discursive and social interactions. Our approach is decidedly agency-oriented and follows the Special Issue’s interest in how interface conflicts play out at the micro-level. The article advances several theoretical and methodological propositions on how to identify norm collisions and the conditions under which they become the subject of international debate. Our argument on norm collisions, understood as situations in which actors perceive two norms as incompatible with each other, is threefold. First, we claim that agency matters to the analysis of the emergence, dynamics, management, and effects of norm collisions in international politics. Second, we propose to differentiate between dormant (subjectively perceived) and open norm collisions (intersubjectively shared). Third, we contend that the transition from dormant to open – which we term activation – depends on the existence of certain scope conditions concerning norm quality as well as changes in power structures and actor constellations. Empirically, we study norm collisions in the area of international drug control, presenting the field as one that contains several cases of dormant and open norm collisions, including those that constitute interface conflicts. For our in-depth analysis we have chosen the international discourse on coca leaf chewing. With this case, we not only seek to demonstrate the usefulness of our constructivist-interpretivist approach but also aim to explain under which conditions dormant norm collisions evolve into open collisions and even into interface conflicts.
norm collisions contestation discourse agency international drug control