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International Nongovernmental Organizations and Foreign Policy Analysis  

Amanda Murdie and Sarah Hunter

International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) are growing in both numbers and influence around the world. INGOs range wildly in scope, size, membership, and home location. Examples of INGOs include Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch, and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF; also known as Doctors Without Borders). INGOs have increasingly been involved in the policymaking and the policy process. Domestically, INGOs have access to policymakers and work to influence policy through lobbying efforts and information campaigns. Internationally, INGOs often work with intergovernmental organizations and donor agencies and can have tremendous sway in certain policy domains. Recent works have linked INGO efforts to changes in trade and investment patterns and decisions about humanitarian interventions, economic sanctions, and aid allocation. INGOs are defined and situated in the international system. The causal mechanisms connecting INGO activities to foreign policy decisions and decision-making are outlined and situated into the larger theoretical literature on foreign policy. The ways in which INGOs have been impacted by foreign policy decisions are explored, especially recent efforts by states to limit the work of foreign INGOs within their borders. There is a need for further research and data collection on INGOs and for more work on how INGOs interact with other actors in the foreign policy arena.

Article

What Helps Protect Human Rights: Human Rights Theory and Evidence  

Jessica Anderson and Amanda Murdie

Empirical international relations (IR) theory developed three generalized statements regarding why human rights abuses occur. First, human rights abuses are a way for an unrestrained state, especially the executive branch and its agents, to try to control individuals and hold on to power. Second, respect for human rights is an international norm, and international socialization and pressure about this norm can, in certain situations, affect behavior. Third, the codification of human rights norms into international treaties may influence behavior but, similar to our understanding of the effect of other treaties on state behavior, states only bind themselves weakly, and certain conditions are necessary for treaties to affect human rights.

Article

The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities as a Global Tipping Point for the Participation of Persons With Disabilities  

Paul Harpur and Michael Ashley Stein

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a historical tipping point, globally precipitating and enabling persons with disabilities to exercise their rights. Prior to the CRPD, laws and practices restricted the capacity of persons with disabilities to be present, let alone empowered, within society. By contrast, leveraging the call of “nothing about us without us,” the disability rights movement precipitated a participatory dynamic throughout the CRPD’s drafting sessions. Disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs), as nongovernmental organizations, selected their own spokespeople, attended all public meetings, made statements, received copies of official documents, and distributed their own position papers. This involvement has had profound and continuing lasting effects, with participation enshrined in the CRPD’s text and precipitating a new global norm. The CRPD requires full and effective participation and inclusion in society and equality of opportunity. It further requires states to closely consult with and involve persons with disabilities, through DPOs, in decisions, policies, and laws affecting them and to promote DPO development. DPOs are also authorized to implement and monitor the CRPD, thereby facilitating the work of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which to date has been dominated by independent experts with disabilities. Collectively, these requirements are intended to ensure that persons with disabilities can fully participate in the CRPD’s visionary agenda.

Article

Non-State Actors and Foreign Policy  

Frank A. Stengel and Rainer Baumann

The rise of non-state (international, private, and transnational) actors in global politics has far-reaching consequences for foreign policy theory and practice. In order to be able to explain foreign policy in the 21st century, foreign policy research needs to take into account the growing importance of nonstate actorss. A good way to do this would be to engage the literature on globalization and global governance. Both fields would benefit from such an exchange of ideas because their respective strengths could cancel out each other’s weaknesses. Foreign policy research, on the one hand, has a strong track record explaining foreign policy outcomes, using a broad range of theoretical concepts, but almost completely ignores non-state actors. This is highly problematic for at least two reasons: first, foreign policy is increasingly made in international organizations and intergovernmental and transnational governance networks instead of national institutions like foreign ministries. Second, the latter increasingly open up to, and involve, non-state actors in their policymaking procedures. Thus, if foreign policy research wants to avoid becoming marginalized in the future, it needs to take into account this change. However, systemic approaches like neorealism or constructivism have difficulties adapting to the new reality of foreign policy. They stress the importance of states at the expense of non-state actors, which are only of marginal interest to them, as is global governance. Moreover, they also conceptualize states as unitary actors, which forecloses the possibility of examining the involvement of non-state actors in states’ decision-making processes. Agency-based approaches such as foreign policy analysis (FPA) fare much better, at least in principle. FPA scholars stress the importance of disaggregating the state and looking at the individuals and group dynamics that influence their decision-making. However, while this commitment to opening up the state allows for a great deal more flexibility vis-à-vis different types of actors, FPA research has so far remained state-centric and only very recently turned to non-state actors. On the other hand, non-state actors’ involvement in policymaking is the strong suit of the literature on globalization and global governance, which has spent a lot of time and effort analyzing various forms of “hybrid” governance. At the same time, however, this literature has been rather descriptive, so far mainly systematizing different governance arrangements and the conditions under which non-state actors are included in governance arrangements. This literature could profit from foreign policy research’s rich theoretical knowledge in explaining policy outcomes in hybrid governance networks and international organizations (IOs). Foreign policy researchers should take non-state actors seriously. In this regard, three avenues in particular are relevant for future research: (1) comparative empirical research to establish the extent of non-state actors’ participation in foreign policymaking across different countries and governance arrangements; (2) explanatory studies that analyze the conditions under which non-state actors are involved in states’ foreign policymaking processes; and (3) the normative implications of increased hybrid foreign policymaking for democratic legitimacy.

Article

Afro-Latin Social Movements in Latin America and the Caribbean  

Kwame Dixon

This article examines the rise of Afro-Latin social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. It seeks to understand what factors explain the rise of black consciousness and black social movements. Theoretically, it explores the multidimensional nature and meaning of blackness as a social constructions and how such constructions may contribute to or limit Afro-based social movements. Contrary to popular perception, Afro-Latin social movements are not new, but form part of the long history of black resistance in the Americas. Although Black social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean are not new and have long histories like those of Maroon, Quilombo, Cimarròn, and Palenque societies, it is argued that the1970s witnessed an uptick in Afro-referenced social movements across the region. These movements, although in no way monolithic, represented a repertoire of various identities, ideas, and philosophies. Their agendas were framed in the context of racial and social justice demanding social, economic, and cultural rights long denied to them. Theoretically, Afro civil society as a specific Black space and cultural site, is theorized to show how many of these movements emerged. Afro civil society therefore is used to place these movements within a theoretical and historical timeframe.