War under transnational surveillance : framing ambiguity and the politics of shame
Title: War under transnational surveillance : framing ambiguity and the politics of shame
Author: VENNESSON, Pascal
Publisher: Cambridge Univ Press
Citation: Review of international studies, 2014, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 25-51
ISSN: 0260-2105; 1469-9044
'Naming and shaming' those accused of abuse and misconduct is one of the most common strategies of transnational activists. Yet both qualitative and quantitative studies show that the policy and behavioural effects of naming and shaming are often contradictory. Named and shamed actors do respond at least partially by adjusting their policies and behaviour to some extent, but the actions challenged publicly as human rights violations may not cease and can even become more widespread. This ambivalent outcome is usually explained by the uneven capacity of the target to reform or by its 'strategic' response to escape the consequences of naming and shaming. By contrast, I show that naming and shaming can be brought to a standstill when the frame used by transnational activists is ambiguous. I trace the role of framing ambiguity during the Human Rights Watch (HRW) 'naming and shaming' campaigns against the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in the course of the July-August 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war (Lebanon war), and the December 2008-January 2009 Israel-Hamas war (Gaza war). I argue that HRW's use of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) as a frame led to an argumentative deadlock (frame implication contest). This legal frame, and the process of legal framing, did genuinely constrain the IDF, affecting its operations and behaviour. However, the ambiguity of the frame also provided the IDF with a range of material and ideational assets that gave it scope to claim that its actions were actually in conformity with applicable law, and to justify continuing to use force in densely populated areas.
Subject: International-law; foreign-policy; violence; israel; construction; impact; power
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