AuthorLandolt, Laura K.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation examines the conceptualization, promotion and diffusion of the norm of population control at international and domestic levels, as well as adoption and implementation in Egypt. It also offers a critique of mainstream constructivism, an increasingly popular analytical approach to norm diffusion. Constructivists present convincing evidence that nonstate actors change state preferences through the promotion and diffusion of norms, or "shared expectations about appropriate behavior held by a community of actors" (Finnemore 1996, 22). To emphasize the independent influence of social factors, and to downplay material factors, however, constructivists select cases in which norm diffusion occurred before state sponsorship. Constructivist research answers the question, 'How are norms diffused in the absence of material constraint?' Aside from its censorship of material factors, additional constructivist shortcomings include its proclivity for examining only liberal or progressive norms, and its inattention to domestic political process and elites' broader decision-making options. This dissertation demonstrates that diffusion of the norm of population control depended on a combination of material and social factors related to an alliance among strange bedfellows, namely the United States and allied donors and INGOs, UN agencies, populationist and liberal feminist NGOs, and international financial institutions. In this case, the 'norm cascade' of formal state adoptions of population control followed formal social and material support by the United States and, subsequently, the United Nations. This research seeks to demonstrate that relationships of social and material inequality strongly condition the norms that are selected or rejected by international society and states, and the ways in which opponents conceptualize and mobilize for change. The case of population control suggests interesting answers to a different question, namely: How and why are certain international norms, and not others, successfully promoted, diffused and adopted by states? This dissertation also examines the mechanics of norm mutation, or efforts by the international women's health movement to substitute the original population control paradigm, family planning, with the new reproductive health paradigm. This new paradigm was adopted at the 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), and the final chapter examines the current prospects for paradigm change in Egypt.
Degree ProgramGraduate College