Norms in Conflict
Southeast Asia’s Response to Human Rights Violations in Myanmar
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 06/14/2022
The people of Myanmar were struck by three major human rights disasters during the country's period of democratization from 2003 to 2012: the 2007 Saffron Revolution, the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, and the 2012 Rakhine riots, which would evolve into the ongoing Rohingya crisis. These events saw Myanmar's government categorically labeled as an offender of human rights, and three powerful Southeast Asian member states—Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia—responded to the violations in very different ways. In each case, their responses to the crises were explicitly shaped by norm conflict, which may be understood as a tension between international and domestic norms. Their reactions were compelled by a need to address conflicting domestic and international expectations for norm compliance regarding human rights protection and non-interference in internal affairs.
In Norms in Conflict: Southeast Asia's Response to Human Rights Violations in Myanmar, Anchalee Rüland makes sense of state action that occurs when a governing body is faced with a circumstance that is at once in line with and contrary to its own governing policies. She defines five different types of response strategies to situations of norm conflict and examines the enabling factors that lead to each strategy. Domestic norms are known to evolve as a country's values change over time yet Rüland argues that the old and new norms may also coexist; knowledge of the underlying political context is crucial for those seeking a solid understanding of state behavior. Norms in Conflict challenges the conventional understanding of the logic of consequences in determining state behavior, advancing constructivist theory and establishing a provocative new conversation in international relations discourse.
Theorizing and Studying Response to Norm Conflict
Commitment to the Norms
Norm Reconciliation in Indonesia
Strategic Norm Replacement in Thailand
From Norm Replacement to Conflict Denial in Malaysia
The concept of norms has become integral to the study of ASEAN. Yet given the diversity and complex histories of Southeast Asia and its constituent states, it should hardly be surprising to find norms in conflict. In this volume, Anchalee Rüland expertly unpacks this contestation and argues convincingly for norms to be understood as socially embedded and shaped by concerns for domestic legitimacy and international reputation. The empirical focus on the human rights situation in Myanmar is both timely and prescient given recent developments. This volume makes a valuable contribution to ongoing efforts to understand the possibilities and constraints of the normative endeavours of ASEAN and should be read by all who are interested in the regional affairs of Southeast Asia.~Joseph Chinyong Liow, Tan Kah Kee Chair Professor in Comparative and International Politics, Nanyang Technological University
Anchalee Rüland's excellently researched, tightly argued and very timely book provides a path-breaking innovative analysis of how states respond to human rights atrocities in their neighbourhood. The study makes a significant theoretical and empirical contribution to our understanding of norms in international relations which goes far beyond the specific case of Southeast Asia.~Jörn Dosch, professor of international relations at the University of Rostock
The theoretical literature in IR has thus far focused primarily on individual norms - how they shape state behaviour and how they are contested. But this leaves a crucial question unanswered: How should states act in situations where two norms collide? In Norms In Conflict, Anchalee Rüland does more than theorize why and how norms can conflict; she also applies her deep understanding of the politics of Southeast Asia to illustrate the different response strategies states have employed to address norm conflict. This is essential reading for all scholars engaged in norms research and for those who seek to understand the dilemma posed by the twin imperatives to protect human rights and to respect the principle of non-intervention.~Jennifer Welsh, Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security, McGill University