Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why international sanctions do not always work

Date:
March 18, 2014
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
It is far from always that international sanctions and diplomatic pressure have the intended effect. This is one of the findings in new research that examines what is known as the 'shaming method' in international politics. This means the use of diplomatic pressure and sanctions by the international community to stigmatize countries, and 'leave them out in the cold', for instance when Western powers deem certain state actions unacceptable.

It is far from always that international sanctions and diplomatic pressure have the intended effect. This is one of the findings in new research conducted by Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Rebecca Adler-Nissen. In her research she examines what is known as the 'shaming method' in international politics. This means the use of diplomatic pressure and sanctions by the international community to stigmatize countries, and 'leave them out in the cold', for instance when Western powers deem certain state actions unacceptable.

The findings were recently published in the scientific journal International Organization.

Germany, Austria and Cuba have at least one thing in common: they have all experienced what it means to be 'left out in the cold' and be considered 'bad company' by Western powers. However, just as Iran and South Africa, these three countries have handled this form of stigmatization very differently. According to new research, the reason for this is that diplomatic pressure and sanctions by the international community (the 'shaming method' ) fail to have the intended effect because isolation and shaming may boost national pride and sense of cohesion and thus support the regime in power. This is the main finding in PhD and Associate Professor Rebecca Adler-Nissen's new scientific article.

"In the West, we have long believed that we could educate other countries to behave according to our norms, and during the past 20 years we have witnessed an increase in the use of 'shaming' in international politics. Western ideals about human rights and democracy are used to justify the use of international pressure to force other nations to adhere to our norms and values. However stigmatization and shaming often fail to work. Sometimes it actually backfires, and ends up affecting the instigator instead," says Rebecca-Adler Nissen, who goes on to highlight the fact that a country such as Cuba has made a virtue out of being excluded from the Western-dominated international society by claiming that it is a different and better model of society.

Food for thought

Rebecca Adler-Nissen emphasizes that she is not advocating to drop sanctions such as freezing financial assets, imposing travel restrictions, or breaking off diplomatic ties, but she points out that the new insights give food for thought.

"Western politicians should be more careful when using these political instruments, because they do not always work as intended. We need to have a deeper knowledge of the countries in question, and to ask ourselves if the elites aspire to share Western values in the first place. If not, sanctions and pressure may still be used, if so it is more a question of the us needing to send a signal that a global set of values, dominated by the West, still exists, rather than attempting to influence the countries in question," she says.

New world order -- new values

Rebecca Adler-Nissen has identified three strategies used by countries that have been stigmatized through sanctions and pressures: acceptance of the stigma, rejection of the stigma, and counter-stigmatisation. She uses the cases of Germany, Austria and Cuba to illustrate the three strategies. She explains that Germany is a country where sanctions and stigmatisation had the intended effect. After the Second World War, the country accepted its guilt, and Germany now stands proud as a model of a deeply rooted democracy and respect for human rights. By contrast, Austrian political elites rejected suggestions that they had part in the horrors of Nazism, while Cuban politicians, in the wake of the revolution, made a virtue of not giving into Western demands in spite of swingeing sanctions imposed by the United States.

"In the long term, knowledge about shame, pride and stigma may help us understand why diplomatic pressure on a country such as Iran has had limited effect, while it did influence the apartheid regime in South Africa to some extent," says Rebecca Adler-Nissen, who continues:

"Attempts to generate shared norms for state behaviour will become even more difficult in the future. The values of the Western world -- and of the United States in particular -- dominated international relations in the past century, and they were the standards by which other countries were measured. But now that countries including China, India and Brazil are beginning to play a more prominent role in the global world order, the West can no longer count on the predominance of our perception of right and wrong."

Rebecca Adler-Nissen's findings were recently published in the article "Stigma Management in International Relations: Transgressive Identities, Norms, and Order in International Society" in the scientific journal International Organization.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rebecca Adler-Nissen. Stigma Management in International Relations: Transgressive Identities, Norms, and Order in International Society. International Organization, 2014; 68 (01): 143 DOI: 10.1017/S0020818313000337

Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "Why international sanctions do not always work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318140541.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2014, March 18). Why international sanctions do not always work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318140541.htm
University of Copenhagen. "Why international sanctions do not always work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318140541.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Congress OKs Unlocking Phones From Carriers

Newsy (July 26, 2014) A bill legalizing "unlocking," or untethering a phone from its default wireless carrier, has passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Wikipedia Puts Congress in Time Out, Blocks Editing

Newsy (July 26, 2014) An IP address within the House of Representatives was banned from editing Wikipedia articles for 10 days after it made some questionable changes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins