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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Designing international institutions: Process and practice in the making of an International Criminal Court
by Holthoefer, Anne, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2011, 332; 3487654
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation develops a social theory of institutional design that explains how states and their agents create multilateral treaty regimes and international organizations, using the International Criminal Court as an example. The theory is social in that it conceives of design not as a technical exercise of problem solving, but rather as a process embedded in and constitutive of normative structures that shapes the demand for design, its trajectory, and the institutions that result. Design is not only the observable effect of negotiations and choices, but functions as a powerful diachronic narrative. This narrative is employed by agents to justify their actions as a break with the institutional status quo while also affirming how the emerging institution reflects the normative consensus of society. As such design entails a process of objectification and externalization by which a historically specific configuration of practices is disassociated from its context and acquires a normative and factual quality.

Empirically the dissertation studies the creation of the International Criminal Court through the practices of institutional designers themselves, how they stabilize a set of power relationships via rules and norms in relation to the past and to the future. In particular, the dissertation discusses the role of legal experts by analyzing the historical development of the concept of international crime in the interwar period and the rising demand for international criminal jurisdiction in the wake of World War II that culminated in multilateral negotiations over an international criminal court. By focusing on the practices of international legal experts the dissertation demonstrates how the design of an institution is affected by the productive tension between politics, normative concerns (over goals, legitimacy, efficiency) and the requirements of international legality in the production of institutional rules, norms and decision making.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wendt, Alexander, Snidal, Duncan
Commitee: Markell, Patchen
School: The University of Chicago
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: International Relations, International law
Keywords: Institutional change, Institutional design, International Criminal Court, International institutions, International law, Norm emergence
Publication Number: 3487654
ISBN: 978-1-267-07165-1
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