Are mediators norm entrepreneurs?
Third-party funded project
Project title Are mediators norm entrepreneurs?
Principal Investigator(s) Goetschel, Laurent
Project Members Hellmüller, Sara Anna
Organisation / Research unit Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften / Politikwissenschaft (Goetschel),
Europainstitut / Europäische Politik (Goetschel),
swisspeace foundation / Peace Research (Goetschel)
Project start 01.09.2015
Probable end 31.08.2019
Status Completed
Abstract

Norms play an increasingly important role in mediation processes. Mediators are no
longer supposed to only bring a conflict to an end, they are also asked to integrate
certain norms into mediation processes. However, although the role and diffusion of
norms have been widely researched in international relations and peacebuilding
literature, the same does not count for the field of mediation. While the conditions
under which mediation leads to a sustainable agreement have been assessed, the role
of mediators in norm diffusion has only been treated in a largely prescriptive way in
policy debates. This is surprising given the fact that mediation is at the core of a wider peacebuilding process. This project seeks to shed light on the role of mediators in norm diffusion by asking to what extent mediators are norm entrepreneurs defined by Finnemore and Sikkink (1998: 895) as actors who “attempt to convince a critical mass of [actors] to embrace new norms”. More specifically, it addresses the questions of what norms belong to the normative framework for mediation processes; whether mediators promote and imitate norms and how; and which norms have been internalized in mediation processes. Thereby, the project responds to three biases in current research on norm diffusion. First, it also allows insights into those norms that have not diffused in contrast to earlier research which has largely neglected instances of non-diffusion. Second, norm diffusion will neither be seen as a priori positive or negative compared to current analyses which often portray it as inherently positive. Third, the project allows for agency of actors while earlier research mainly focused on the influence of the structure on agents. Methodologically, the project is based on a combination of case study and process-tracing. Three cases of mediators are chosen which are mandated by the most typical actors in the mediation field: an intergovernmental organization (the United Nations (UN)), a regional organization (the African Union (AU)) and a state (Switzerland). On the basis of these three cases, a two-level analysis is conducted. First, and most importantly, the project assesses causal processes at the within-case level focusing on the agency of mediators. It does this through process-tracing because it allows for an in-depth description of a trajectory of change, namely the process of norm diffusion, and analyzes closely the sequences of independent, dependent, and intervening variables. Second, it conducts a comparison at the cross-case level examining how the role of mediators as norm entrepreneurs varies between the three cases. Data is collected through content analysis, interviews, focus group discussions as well as participant observation.
The main contribution of the proposed research project is twofold. First, it addresses
three important gaps in academic literature on norm diffusion and second, it adds
empirical evidence to an often merely policy-based prescriptive debate on the role of
mediators in norm diffusion. As such, this project makes a coherent and highly
important contribution to scientific debates.

Financed by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

Published results ()

  ID Autor(en) Titel ISSN / ISBN Erschienen in Art der Publikation
3352967  Hellmüller, Sara; Palmiano, Julia; Siegfried, Matthias  Norm-Pushers or Deal-Brokers? Normative Challenges of Modern-Day Mediators      Publication: Discussion paper / Internet publication 
4102606  Hellmueller, Sara; Palmiano Federer, Julia; Pring, Jamie  Are Mediators Norm Entrepreneurs? Exploring the Role of Mediators in Norm Diffusion      Publication: Discussion paper / Internet publication 
4509362  Hellmüller, Sara; Zahar, Marie-Joëlle  UN-led mediation in Syria and civil society. Inclusion in a multi-layered conflict  1365-0742 ; 978-1-905805-28-0  Accord : an international review of peace initiatives  Publication: JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift) 
4509363  Hellmüller, Sara  Beyond Buzzwords: Civil Society Inclusion in Mediation  978-1-78661-026-3 ; 978-1-78661-027-0  Conflict Management and Transformation: Theory and Practice  Publication: Book Item (Buchkap., Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden etc.) 
4509372  Abo Naser, Metwaly; Hellmüller, Sara; Hilal, Leila; Katkhouda, Ryme; Nagui, Yosra  Inside Syria: What Local Actors Are Doing For Peace      Publication: Other Publications (Forschungsberichte o. ä.) 
4509373  Hellmüller, Sara; Palmiano Federer, Julia; Zeller, Mathias  The Role of Norms in International Peace Mediation      Publication: Other Publications (Forschungsberichte o. ä.) 
4612393  Hellmüller, Sara Anna  Meaning‐Making in Peace‐Making: The Inclusion Norm at the Interplay between the United Nations and Civil Society in the Syrian Peace Process    Swiss Political Science Review  Publication: JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift) 
4612396  Hellmüller, Sara; Pring, Jamie; Richmond, Oliver  How Norms Matter in Mediation: An Introduction    Swiss Political Science Review  Publication: JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift) 
4612398  Hellmüller, Sara  Mediation    The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies  Publication: Book Item (Buchkap., Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden etc.) 
4612401  Hellmüller, Sara  Civil society inclusion in peace processes    The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies  Publication: Book Item (Buchkap., Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden etc.) 
4612404  Hellmüller, Sara  DR Congo: Local and international peacebuilders' interaction    The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies  Publication: Book Item (Buchkap., Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden etc.) 
4612405  Hellmüller, Sara  Inclusion and Performance as Sources of Legitimacy: The UN Mediation on Syria    Local Legitimacy and International Peacebuilding  Publication: Book Item (Buchkap., Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden etc.) 
4612406  Hellmüller, Sara  The Role of Civil Society Actors in Peacemaking and Peacebuilding    The Routledge Handbook of Peace, Security and Development  Publication: Book Item (Buchkap., Lexikonartikel, jur. Kommentierung, Beiträge in Sammelbänden etc.) 
   

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