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Domestic Political Structure and Social Norms: Explaining State Resistance and Cooperation towards the Global Human Rights Regime: The Case of United States and China

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Abstract:

Regime-based global governance is rapidly restructuring the logic of inter-state conflict and cooperation by accelerating the interconnections among the different territorial units through the mechanism of global markets, multilateral institutions, and non-governmental organizations. Nevertheless, different countries have responded varyingly to the impact and influence of regime-based global governance. Some states have strongly resisted, whereas others have eagerly sought to cooperate, and still others have attempted to limit or selectively engage with the global governance mechanisms. In this paper, I pose the question--why do states exhibit varying behavior towards the global human rights regime? I argue that the variations in state behavior towards the human rights regime stem from the differences in the domestic political structure and variations in the domestic social norms. The basic goal is to show how the mutually contingent relationship between regime-based global governance and domestic political structure-broadly understood as democracy and non-democracy-influences a country's decision to cooperate or resist the influence of global governance institutions. Specifically, I contend that established democracies are more likely to resist cooperation with the global human rights regime not only because of cost-benefit calculations, but also because they believe that its domestic social norms, values, and laws trump global rules and norms. On the other hand, non-democratic states are likely to selectively engage with the human rights regime because it is worried that untrammeled sociopolitical openness might eventually lead to irrepressible domestic political demands. This proposition will be examined by conducting two types of tests: in-depth comparative case analysis. The comparative case studies will examine the political processes of resistance and cooperation of one democratic state (United States) and one non-democratic country (China) towards the global human rights regime. The focus will be at the level where the domestic (bottom-up) and top-down (global) demands collide and how the democratic and non-democratic countries mediate these conflicting social forces. Overall, this research project attempts to shift the theoretical logic from a narrow structural and unitary actor neorealist and neoliberalist interpretation of international relations and attempts to develop a rigorous theoretical framework that incorporates the central insights of the global governance theories.

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right (255), human (240), intern (229), state (192), polit (147), regim (146), global (104), china (100), govern (93), unit (87), univers (85), press (80), norm (78), polici (75), domest (63), american (60), nation (56), treati (53), institut (53), democrat (50), theori (50),

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Keywords: Human Rights, U.S. Foreign Policy, Chinese Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, Social Norms, International Regimes, International Cooperation
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Sitaraman, Srinivasan. "Domestic Political Structure and Social Norms: Explaining State Resistance and Cooperation towards the Global Human Rights Regime: The Case of United States and China" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65554_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sitaraman, S. , 2002-08-28 "Domestic Political Structure and Social Norms: Explaining State Resistance and Cooperation towards the Global Human Rights Regime: The Case of United States and China" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p65554_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Regime-based global governance is rapidly restructuring the logic of inter-state conflict and cooperation by accelerating the interconnections among the different territorial units through the mechanism of global markets, multilateral institutions, and non-governmental organizations. Nevertheless, different countries have responded varyingly to the impact and influence of regime-based global governance. Some states have strongly resisted, whereas others have eagerly sought to cooperate, and still others have attempted to limit or selectively engage with the global governance mechanisms. In this paper, I pose the question--why do states exhibit varying behavior towards the global human rights regime? I argue that the variations in state behavior towards the human rights regime stem from the differences in the domestic political structure and variations in the domestic social norms. The basic goal is to show how the mutually contingent relationship between regime-based global governance and domestic political structure-broadly understood as democracy and non-democracy-influences a country's decision to cooperate or resist the influence of global governance institutions. Specifically, I contend that established democracies are more likely to resist cooperation with the global human rights regime not only because of cost-benefit calculations, but also because they believe that its domestic social norms, values, and laws trump global rules and norms. On the other hand, non-democratic states are likely to selectively engage with the human rights regime because it is worried that untrammeled sociopolitical openness might eventually lead to irrepressible domestic political demands. This proposition will be examined by conducting two types of tests: in-depth comparative case analysis. The comparative case studies will examine the political processes of resistance and cooperation of one democratic state (United States) and one non-democratic country (China) towards the global human rights regime. The focus will be at the level where the domestic (bottom-up) and top-down (global) demands collide and how the democratic and non-democratic countries mediate these conflicting social forces. Overall, this research project attempts to shift the theoretical logic from a narrow structural and unitary actor neorealist and neoliberalist interpretation of international relations and attempts to develop a rigorous theoretical framework that incorporates the central insights of the global governance theories.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 48
Word count: 15425
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Domestic Political Structure and Social Norms: Explaining State Resistance and Cooperation towards the Global Human Rights Regime The Case of United States and China Srini Sitaraman Program in Arms Control Disarmament and International Security University of Illinois Urbana­Champaign Champaign IL 61820­6237 Email: sitarama@uiuc.edu August 2002 Prepared for Delivery at the American Political Science Association (APSA) 2002 Annual Convention August 28­September1 Boston MA Sitaraman 2 Introduction Globalization and global governance are highly contested concepts. However social scientists generally concur that
Oran. Global Governance: Drawing Insights from the Environmental Experience. eds. Cambridge MA: MIT Press 1997. Young Oran. Governance in World Affairs. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press 1999. Young Oran. The Effectiveness of International Environmental Regimes: Causal Connections and Behavioral. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press 1999. Zacher Mark W and Richard A. Matthew. ``Liberal International Theory: Common Threads Divergent Strands.'' In Controversies in International Relations Theory: Realism and the Neoliberal Challenge. Eds Charles Kegley Jr. New York: St. Martin's Press 1995:107­150.


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