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Law General

Norms Without the Great Powers

International Law and Changing Social Standards in World Politics

by (author) Adam Bower

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2017
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2017
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Norms Without the Great Powers examines the nature of power in world politics, and the particular role that law plays in defining the meaning and deployment of power in the international system. Specifically, it seeks to further explicate the social dimensions of power as the capacity to shape how actors think about the world, in contrast to the more typical conception emphasizing material properties such as military or economic capabilities. Participating in international institutions and being seen as "law-abiding" is a potent source of status for states and non-state actors alike. In engaging with the law, actors are inducted into a complex set of collective expectations that profoundly shape the way they frame their interests and pursue their policy goals. This process is first examined theoretically, and then through a detailed evaluation of two prominent - and challenging - multilateral institutions, the ban on antipersonnel mines and the International Criminal Court.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Adam Bower is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of St Andrews. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of British Columbia in 2012. He has previously held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Oxford (Department of Politics and International Relations and Nuffield College) and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow). His work has previously been published in, among others, the Review of International Studies and International Studies Review.