Non-western powers like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa have begun to claim a greater say in shaping global norms. Their growing assertiveness adds to the contestation of global norms that is likely to become the rule rather than the exception as the world shifts toward a new normative order. In stark contrast, the scholarship on global norms fails to illuminate conflictive, non-linear interactions and remains tied to Western-centric, unidirectional and linear-teleological models of norm diffusion. We seek to address this gap by providing a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of global norm evolution and normative conflict, focused on a crucial case: the evolution of a ‘responsibility to protect’ individuals from mass atrocities. This emerging and contested norm challenges the foundations of the existing global order and has become the subject of intense global debate. To manage the contested transition to a new global order peacefully may be the greatest global challenge not just for a trade-dependent Europe that continues to cast itself as a ‘normative power,’ but also for the prospects of collective action at the global level.
Project coordinator: Oliver Stuenkel