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Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Targets Land Mines


The rise in the importance of nonstate actors in generating new norms in world politics has been documented by scholars, but the literature has focused predominantly on nonsecurity (“new”) issue areas. Conversely, although recent constructivist work in international relations has examined the security policies of states, typically it is the state that is doing the constructing of interests. I bridge these two literatures by examining the hard case of transnational civil society working through issue networks to teach state interests in security policy. I analyze the campaign by transnational civil society to generate an international norm prohibiting antipersonnel land mines and trace the effects of several techniques through which states can be said to be socialized. Through generating issues, networking, “grafting,” and using a transnational Socratic method to reverse burdens of proof, the campaign has stimulated systemic normative change through two processes: norm adoption through the conversion of persuaded moral entrepreneurs and emulation resulting from social pressures of identity.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
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