Richard Price

Professor

Research Classification

International Cooperation

Research Interests

international relations
Ethics and World Politics
International Relations Theory
Global Norms
Moral Psychology

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Research Methodology

Constructivism
Normative International Relations Theory

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Armed groups, child soldiers and the pursuit of legitimacy (2018)

In armed conflicts around the world, armed groups recruit child soldiers into their organisations to fill a wide range of roles. In response, transnational advocacy networks have been mobilised to name-and-shame such armed groups and seek an end to this humanitarian concern through asserting the norm against the use of child soldiers. Some armed groups respond to this advocacy, and demobilise their child soldiers, while others ignore international pressure. There is a puzzle here: why do some armed groups demobilize child soldiers, while others do not? What makes armed groups more or less responsive to advocacy? I argue that some armed groups are engaging with the child soldiers norm in order to gain legitimacy from international audiences. Evidence shows that the armed groups that do this are those who have a large domestic support base but are losing their armed struggle. Armed groups do not engage with the norm if they are winning their struggle, or if they are losing and do not have a large domestic support base. In order to demonstrate this theory, I present evidence from qualitative interview-based research conducted in Syria and Myanmar in 2012 and 2013. I show that in these two dramatically different conflicts, armed groups follow the same forms of behavior. In both cases, it is only when groups are losing but have support, that they will dialogue with transnational advocacy networks in order to engage with the child soldiers norm and acquire international legitimacy.

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Deliberation in anarchy (2015)

How do cooperative rules and agreements emerge in anarchical situations of political conflict between or within states? This dissertation responds to this question by developing an innovative theory of the role that deliberation plays in the emergence of rule-based cooperation under anarchy. “Deliberation” refers to a kind of political talk in which participants attempt to persuade each other on the basis of convincing reasons. Deliberation promises to be an important vehicle through which political opponents make and follow cooperative rules together. The problem, however, is that because deliberation has primarily been studied in the context of strong, liberal-democratic states, we do not yet have an adequate understanding of how it can be effective under more anarchical conditions. Without the security provided by strong institutions and relatively thick “lifeworlds” of shared culture and norms, deliberative responses to politics are more likely to be scuttled by mistrust and mutual suspicion.The theory developed here addresses this challenge by highlighting and investigating the often-overlooked relational effects of deliberation. Deliberation is not just about the content of the reasons political opponents offer one another. It is also about the fact that they are offering reasons at all, and about what that implies for the kind of actions they can expect from each other. Most importantly, deliberation can be a way for interlocutors to demonstrate their accountability to each other: their willingness to uphold, and count on others to uphold, shared standards of behaviour. In this way deliberation can help to generate the bonds of trust and mutually acknowledged commitment that political opponents need in order to act on shared rules and understandings. In developing this theory, the dissertation offers new conceptual tools for understanding how productive politics, based on negotiation, persuasion, and shared rules, can get a toehold even under difficult conditions.

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Justice and inclusion in global politics : victim representation and the International Criminal Court (2015)

There are widespread concerns that those people who ought to benefit from global governance are instead ignored, disempowered or harmed by it. Central to these concerns, this dissertation argues, is the principle of inclusion. Bringing together normative and empirical inquiry, this dissertation explains why inclusion matters and how it might be achieved in global governance, and uses this approach to assess the oft-criticized relationship between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and victims of international crimes. Inclusion is crucial for both justice and democratic legitimacy. Inclusion can empower constituencies to address injustices they face and negotiate what justice should entail. Inclusion is also necessary to address democratic deficits in global governance, when constituencies are excluded from decision-making processes that significantly affect them. The complexity and large scale of global governance make inclusion difficult to conceptualize and promote. Building on democratic theory, this dissertation proposes the framework of mediated inclusion, which identifies the key activities of representation and communication needed for constituencies to understand and influence decision-making. It then engages with International Relations scholarship to identify actors, institutional design features and contexts that can promote or frustrate the inclusion of the intended beneficiaries of global governance. This analysis reveals both persistent challenges and positive trends in opportunities for inclusion at international organizations. These insights are used to assess the inclusion of victims in the creation and operations of the ICC. This analysis draws on over 100 interviews with ICC staff, state officials and civil society members, as well as focus groups with survivors of violence in Uganda and Kenya. Close examination of negotiations to create the ICC reveals how advocates for victims’ rights achieved a strong legal framework for victim inclusion. Case studies of the ICC’s interventions in Uganda and Kenya evaluate diverse advocates for victims, and identify opportunities and limitations for victim inclusion in judicial, bureaucratic and diplomatic decision-making sites. Contributing to debates on global democracy, transnational advocacy, international organization design and international criminal justice, this dissertation shows how the principle of inclusion can be used to critically assess global governance and to create institutions that are more legitimate and just.

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The construction of the humanitarian worker as inviolate actor (2014)

“How is it that there is such a concern for the security of humanitarian workers?” A glance at the legal, policy, humanitarian, academic and business spheres reveals a widespread and strong commitment to the security of humanitarian workers. While it may appear obvious that these actors should not be victims of security incidents, upon scrutiny, the prominence of this notion – which I term the “norm of humanitarian security” – is surprising. Concern for the security of humanitarian workers is startling considering the enduring ambiguity of what or who humanitarian workers are, and the fact that these actors perform work that has, for years, faced serious critiques.In view of this state of affairs, this dissertation asks: “how is it that humanitarian workers came to be perceived as inviolate actors?” I attend to this question by tracing a genealogy of the norm of humanitarian security. After outlining the emergence of the humanitarian worker as actor, I show how the norm of humanitarian security developed and gained prominence in the 1990s. I argue that this development was greatly informed by states’ commitment to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to which the security of humanitarian workers was perceived as central. States’ changing paradigm of engagement in humanitarian affairs in the post-2001 period contributed to the norm of humanitarian security becoming a stand-alone norm. This occasioned a shift in which violations of the norm went from being portrayed as problematic owing to their impact on the delivery of humanitarian assistance, to being perceived as problematic in and of themselves.This research makes an important contribution to the literature on norms – by providing the first study of the norm of humanitarian security; the literature on humanitarianism – by shedding light on the evolution of the notion of humanitarian worker and showing the interplay between the evolution of the humanitarian sphere and the humanitarian worker; and to the literature on the security of humanitarian workers – by providing a historically situated account of its object of study.

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Norm development without the great powers : assessing the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2013)

Can international treaties generate broadly influential norms when the legal agreements themselves are rejected by the most powerful states in the international system? Despite valuable scholarship focusing on their initial creation of “non-great power” treaties, few studies have sought to systematically examine the subsequent impact of these initiatives. The present dissertation addresses this gap through a detailed assessment of two archetypal cases, the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. To do so, I develop a theory of treaty influence that emphasizes the role of legal instruments in generating international norms, and an associated methodology to identify these social effects. I argue that treaty members may build a community of obligation without the direct support of powerful states, and that these efforts may come to implicate even those states that resist the binding commitments of the legal agreement. The Mine Ban Treaty and Rome Statute have thus powerfully shaped the way in which states across the international system conceive of appropriate conduct with respect to the use of certain weapons and the punishment of grave international crimes. The extensive changes in state practice and discourse are particularly notable since both treaties seek to overturn a prior international consensus that permitted vastly different behaviour.This dissertation has important implications for both international relations theory and practice. Most generally, I demonstrate that influential international laws and norms need not depend on great power leadership, and may derive from a broader array of actors including middle powers and non-governmental coalitions. Ultimately, I argue that the strategic calculation adopted by treaty proponents—that global norms can be more effectively promoted via rigorous treaties with incomplete membership, rather than by weaker agreements initially endorsed by great powers—presents a viable pathway to generating widely respected international norms. In this sense, the focus of the present research is applicable to a wide array of current and prospective regulatory efforts in fields such as global finance and trade, security, human rights and the environment.

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Nuclear proliferation and the use of force : nuclear coercion and nuclear learning (2012)

What is the effect of developing nuclear weapons on a state’s conflict propensity? Extant answers to this question do not model the effects of time and thus leave policy-makers addressing cases such as Iran and North Korea with two contradictory answers – that nuclear proliferation is stabilising and destabilising – that both have extensive empirical support. I argue that nuclear proliferation is dangerous when decision-makers learn that it is safe and safe when they learn it to be dangerous. I develop and test a psychological nuclear learning model that, consistent with recent quantitative research, explains why weak, revisionist/dissatisfied nuclear powers are highly conflict prone but the same experienced nuclear powers are not. In the model, three biases associated with the availability heuristic make weak revisionist new nuclear powers war prone. (1) Illusory correlations cause decision-makers to believe that the immense destructive potential of nuclear weapons causes them to offer similarly large coercive power; (2) self-serving attribution biases cause decision-makers to infer a causal relationship between nuclear compellence threats and subsequent compliance and (3) decision-maker’s nuclear threats, because they are more cognitively accessible than other contextual variables and the operation of these variables in historical cases, cause them to overestimate the probability of successful nuclear coercion. Such new nuclear powers inevitably practice nuclear coercion, which causes a nuclear crisis and fear of imminent nuclear war. I show that this fear moderates the high war propensity of new nuclear powers. It causes (1) pessimistic estimates of the probability of inadvertent nuclear escalation resulting from nuclear coercion, (2) moderation in future nuclear diplomacy and (3) pessimistic risk choices in logically unrelated foreign policies. Recently released Soviet archival data and elite interviews in South Asia, including with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, allow me to test the psychological nuclear learning model against realist, domestic politics and rational learning models.

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The challenges of constructing legitimacy in peacebuilding (2012)

Observing challenges in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kosovo, East Timor, and Libya, to name a few, there is no doubt that peacebuilding—international efforts to create lasting peace in post-conflict states — is a critical issue in world politics. It appears to be a widely shared understanding among both scholars and policymakers that it is imperative for the peacebuilders—both international and domestic authorities in charge of creating peace—to obtain legitimacy in reconstructing war-torn states. Surprisingly, however, concrete methods or policies to construct legitimacy in “host states” have not been fully examined by either IR theorists or practitioners. The objective of this dissertation is to develop an understanding of the mechanism of constructing or eroding the legitimacy of newly created domestic governments in the specific context of peacebuilding. The existing accounts basically contend that constructing legitimate governments in post-conflict states largely depends on the level of force and level of resource distribution (or “guns and money”). On the contrary, my argument emphasizes that in addition to those two factors, other factors, such as inclusive governments reconciling with political adversaries and the substantial role of international organizations as a credible third party to establish the fairness and neutrality of the political process, are very critical in building the legitimacy of the domestic governments in the long run. In order to assess this argument, the dissertation conducts detailed process tracing to assess peacebuilding in Afghanistan as a primary case, demonstrating how the legitimacy of the Afghan government has been eroded. The dissertation also assesses the cases of Iraq, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste (East Timor) in more concise fashion. All four cases support my argument about the requirements for an inclusive political process in peacebuilding as well as the important role of the UN which has often been dismissed by its critics. The research suggests important policy implications for peacebuilding and contributes to generating a theory that can be assessed by future studies.

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The international normative structure of transitional justice (2011)

Transitional justice is a field of research that has benefited from an array of scholarship on accountability for atrocities, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. But the emphasis on varieties of institutional design, such as trials and truth commissions, and the primacy of pragmatic and context-specific variables have obscured the fact that transitional justice is increasingly a norm-driven practice. The field, however, lacks a theoretical framework from which to assess the international norms that consistently have causal effects in diverse contexts and over the past decades in which the normative structure has evolved. I argue that the international normative structure of transitional justice is defined by four interrelated norms: a hierarchical division of criminality, accountability, localization, and reconciliation. The primary contribution of this dissertation is to explain the effects of this structure with a comparative analysis of each norm’s salience and implementation. I therefore juxtapose what is expected in principle to what is possible in practice. Measures of salience go beyond establishing if norms exist and determine how norms matter, as is shown by their role in shaping discourse, institutions and policies. Subsequently I contend that it is important to distinguish between implementation challenges that are institutional failures, such as a lack of capacity or politicization of the process, and those which are normative contestation, such as reinterpretations and challenges over how and whether a norm should be implemented in a certain context. While both can affect the legitimacy of transitional justice institutions, contestation in particular carries with it the possibility for change in the normative structure. The empirical focus analyzes the causal effects of the international normative structure, with the above measures, in Rwanda, East Timor, and the International Criminal Court. Individually, the case studies provide rich contextual detail on how the various norms shaped decision-making and institutions. The diversity in the transitional justice institutions is thus juxtaposed to the consistency in which the norms are salient across the cases and in their implementation challenges, lending credence to the influential effects of the international normative structure of transitional justice.

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Overcoming intractability : identity and intergroup reconciliation in transitional justice (2010)

Drawing upon an interdisciplinary synthesis of literature from political science, social psychology, and peace and conflict studies, this dissertation seeks to construct a theoretical framework capable of tracing the complex linkages between identity, transitional justice, and intergroup reconciliation in the post-conflict environments of deeply divided societies. An innovative ‘social learning’ model of this complex interrelationship is introduced, one which suggests that transitional justice strategies will be most successful in promoting intergroup reconciliation to the degree that they are able to catalyze crucial processes of instrumental, socioemotional, and distributive learning amongst former antagonists by promoting contact, dialogue, truth, justice, and the amelioration of structural and material inequalities – all factors identified in existing scholarship as necessary, if not sufficient, conditions for post-conflict reconciliation in divided societies. Employing a methodology of theoretically oriented systematic process analysis, this social learning model is tested through a critical examination of the very different transitional justice approaches adopted in South Africa and Northern Ireland. In South Africa, transitional justice centered on the highly regarded Truth and Reconciliation Commission, designed to address apartheid-era abuses committed between black and white South Africans. In Northern Ireland, a much more ‘decentralized’ approach has combined discrete government programs with an array of ‘bottom-up’ civil society initiatives to deal with the legacy of violence between Nationalist and Unionist communities committed during the ‘Troubles.’ Through extensive desk research and four months of qualitative field research conducted in 2008 (which included 85 in-depth expert interviews), suggestive evidence is found to support the underlying supposition that, at least in deeply divided societies, the causal relationship between transitional justice and reconciliation remains heavily mediated by the politics of identity. More specifically, in both Northern Ireland and South Africa, the transitional justice strategies employed appear to have been successful in contributing to post-conflict reconciliation to the extent to which they have been able to successfully promote a combination of the instrumental, socioemotional, and distributive forms of learning identified in the theoretical model. This study concludes by considering the policy implications of this analysis for ‘best practices’ in the design of future transitional justice strategies in deeply divided societies.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Increasing compliance with the norm against child soldiery : a case for the adoption of localization theory (2017)

This thesis aims to address the question of why, despite a relatively well-established norm prohibiting the use of Child Soldiers, some government forces and non-state armed groups continue to utilize child soldiers in active conflict, while others do not. While the scholarly literature on child soldiery has developed a relatively robust understanding of the supply and demand factors shaping the use of child soldiers in varying contexts, this thesis will argue that it has yet to fully address and embrace a fundamental part of the norm development process – what Amitav Acharya first referred to as norm localization. In order to strengthen the existing international norm against the use of child soldiers, this thesis will highlight the need for more international and scholarly attention to be directed towards understanding the norm development process as a whole, and to prompting norm localization efforts in the areas where compliance rates remain low. As this thesis will show, the localization of the child soldier norm would help to overcome some of the major barriers facing the implementation of, and compliance with, the norm by allowing local actors to interpret and integrate the norm into their contextualized realities. This thesis will first provide a literature review of the existing knowledge around both the norm development process and the factors driving child soldier use, before going into an analysis of Acharya’s localization theory and its potentiality to help overcome the compliance barriers.

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Strengthening the norm against torture : an alternative look at the implications of US norm violation (2016)

This paper addresses how the domestic violation of the anti-torture norm within the United States during the Bush administration and the War on Terror has affected the international norm against torture. The United States’ evident and contemporary violation of a norm assumed to be internalized by the vast majority of countries has led various scholars to question the robustness of the anti-torture norm. I seek to contribute to the underdeveloped perspective that norms strengthen through contestation by arguing that US domestic violation has not regressed the norm, but rather has strengthened the international anti-torture norm. This paper attempts to take advantage of the increasing prevalence of credible accounts of torture by employing Bayesian Process Tracing as a means of increasing the transparency of empirical findings that counter the argument that the norm against torture is in regress and support the claim that the norm against torture has been strengthened through US violation.

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Roma refugees : international refugee protection and Europe's 'internal outsiders' (2010)

The paper is concerned with the position of Roma refugees within theinternational refugee protection system, and how they face exclusion from asylumin an international context in which migration is represented as a threat to statesovereignty. Specifically, the paper argues that, because of their status both as Romaand as refugees, Roma refugees are represented and treated by states as a doublethreat to the territorial state order. As a result, they are subject to a unique logic ofdouble exclusion that limits their ability to seek and obtain refugee protection afterfleeing persecution in their home states. This exclusion operates at three distinctlevels in the international system: within the European Union (EU), harmonizedasylum policy among member states prevents Roma refugees from Europe fromaccessing refugee protection in other EU countries; in non‐European destinationcountries, states use interdiction measures to prevent refugees from arriving onstate territory; and in the refugee determination process itself, some decisionmakersuse stereotyping, racial profiling and problematic assessments of ethnicityto unnecessarily reject certain Roma claims. These three levels of exclusion operatesimultaneously to limit Roma refugees’ chances of being granted refugee protectionunder the current system. Furthermore, these mechanisms of exclusion are oftenframed by a discourse that de-legitimizes Roma refugee claims and portrays theserefugees as ‘bogus’ claimants or ‘illegal migrants’ out to take advantage of liberalrefugee policy, rather than people potentially fleeing persecution and seekingsurrogate protection under international law.

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