Importance Of International Norms

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Norms are expectations of behaviour and a vital part of the international community (Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998, 887). In the anarchic system of international politics, norms can provide stability and unity due to certain expectations, as well as implement change when norm shifts restructure the international community (Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998, 894). Therefore, the process that enables a norm to be accepted internationally is an important one to analyze and understand. In order for a norm to become international, the most important factors are shared moral assessment and hegemonic acceptance of the norm. Since norms are how states ought to act and behave, a shared moral assessment is key for establishing an international norm. Norm emergence, the first stage in the norm life cycle, relies purely on norm entrepreneurs convincing actors to support the norm (Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998, 895). A shared moral assessment makes it easier to persuade states to support the norm. For instance, anti-apartheid sanctions against South Africa became an international norm due to the shared moral assessment of racial equality (Klotz, 1995, 452). As there was international agreement of racial equality, there was also international agreement that racial discrimination, such as South Africa’s apartheid policy, was morally wrong (Klotz, 1995, 453). Thus, it was easier to convince the international community to impose economic sanctions against South Africa as a signal to end apartheid
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