Incomplete agreements and the limits of persuasion in international politics
Journal of international relations and development, 2005, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 229-256
STEFFEK, Jens, Incomplete agreements and the limits of persuasion in international politics, Journal of international relations and development, 2005, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 229-256 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74486
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Research on international political communication has been revived by constructivist International Relations scholars who have developed the concept of ‘arguing’. In this mode of communication, negotiators are brought to revise causal or normative beliefs that they previously held by means of persuasion. Thus arguing is conceptualized as a trigger of change in international politics. Yet, the underlying assumptions about the malleability of beliefs contrast with traditional approaches to international diplomacy. In the traditional view, diplomacy is a practice of containing rather than resolving fundamental disagreement. In this essay, I claim that whenever arguments are part of a process of legal reasoning, they can be politically effective without a demonstrable change in actors’ beliefs. To account for such different effects of ‘arguing’, I introduce the distinction between complete and incomplete agreements from legal theory. Incomplete agreements occur when actors agree on a norm, a rule or a course of action, yet without agreeing on all principles, values or other reasons that stand behind it. The article illustrates the emergence of such an incomplete agreement with the negotiation history of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74486
Full-text via DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jird.1800056
ISSN: 1408-6980; 1581-1980
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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