Understanding the localization of international norms: women’s human rights norms in Turkey

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2018
Özdemir Sarıgil, Burcu
This study explores the norm localization dynamics and processes in order to better understand how international norms diffuse and take root in diverse local socio-cultural contexts. While the mainstream norm scholarship in International Relations has extensively studied the diffusion dynamics at the international and state levels, it has neglected the distinct dynamics of local contexts and the agency of local norm entrepreneurs in norm diffusion. However, localization is vital for norm diffusion because the creation of new norms and the states’ socialization are necessary but not sufficient for norm internalization and practice at the local level. For successful norm diffusion, international norms must resonate at the local level. Focusing on the diffusion of women’s human rights norms, this study investigates the norm localization in the context of combating violence against women. Utilizing data derived from the in-depth-interviews, participant observation and fieldwork, this study investigates the norm localization in two socio-culturally distinct localities (i.e. Trabzon and Antakya) in Turkey. Findings reveal that localizers are key to successful norm diffusion. Norm localizers appropriate the international norms and then act as active intermediaries between the global, national and local levels. Moreover, localization is not an automatic or smooth process, but a conflictual one. Rather than being passive receivers of international norms, localizers reinterpret and translate norms to make them more resonant, understandable and effectively usable in their particular localities. They target strategic local groups as objects of norm diffusion, and develop several tactics in translating abstract international norms into the local context and practice.

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Citation Formats
B. Özdemir Sarıgil, “Understanding the localization of international norms: women’s human rights norms in Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.