GIR Colloquium | The complex nature of international norms by Dr Carla Winston
Thursday 25 March, 1:15pm – 2:30pm via Zoom*. Please contact Prof Justin Hastings for any queries.
Complexity Theory (CT) has been growing in popularity as an approach to political science and international relations for more than twenty years, but international norms have not yet become part of the conversation. Although many recent studies of norm diffusion and evolution have used CT language and concepts imported from computer or biological systems, such as feedback loops, scholars have yet to take an explicitly complexity-oriented approach to the emergence, diffusion, adoption, and evolution of norms. This paper argues that norms are type of emergent property: arising from the interactions of actors in a complex system, changeable and difficult to predict, but generally adhering to certain patterns of development and effect. In addition, complex systems arise, behave and evolve in particular ways which are different from non-complex systems, and calling attention to system effects provides a novel way for norms researchers to think about what questions to ask, where to focus attention, what cases to select, appropriate methodologies to use, and the ability to predict outcomes. This paper provides an overview of complex systems theory and uses examples from throughout the norm life cycle to show both the organizational utility and theoretical contributions of using a complex systems approach to study international norms.
About the Speaker
Dr. Carla Winston is Lecturer in International Relations at The University of Melbourne. She has previously taught at the University of Victoria (Canada) and the University of British Columbia, where she obtained her PhD.
*Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/87537508954
Image created by Acadac and available under a creative commons license with attribution.