The sexual politics of international norm dynamics: The contemporary governance of marriage equality

Van Wyk, Blain (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the last two decades marriage equality has emerged to become the dominant issue in contemporary (homo)sexual and queer governance in the so-called Western world. At the same time, there has been an increase in the strengthening of anti-homosexuality policies in the so-called non-Western world. Proponents of marriage equality have framed their arguments around human rights and full citizenship, while opponents have denounced LGBTQ rights as human rights and call for a return to ‘traditional’ values. This contestation between two groups in the international community presents an interesting phenomenon in global politics: the diffusion of marriage equality norms in opposite directions. This study presents an in-depth analysis of two case studies: the (Marriage) Equality Movement and the (Marriage) Reactionary Movement. The Equality Movement is concerned with the legalisation of same-sex marriage, while the Reactionary Movement advocates the re-criminalisation of same-sex relations. In order to determine to what extent state and non-state actors contribute to international norm changes, it is imperative to understand how norms emerge, how they cascade through the legal framework, and at what point norms become internalised. The theoretical framework devised by Martha Finnemore and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) is utilised to test the role that the respective actors play in the pursuit of norm change. The utility of the norm life-cycle model is validated through its capability to account for changes occurring in domestic as well as in international institutions. This study investigates how and why marriage equality has emerged as an important issue in contemporary global policy and practice as described and explained in the field of International Relations. The norm of marriage equality has been championed by norm entrepreneurs, in the first stage of the life cycle, who managed to get the norm onto the agenda of state actors. The study then turns to the second stage of the life cycle to illustrate how the norm cascaded through the international system, with several countries adopting the norm. This enabled the norm to reach its final stage of the life cycle where it is moving towards internalisation. On the other hand, the norm of anti-homosexuality has been championed by norm entrepreneurs who managed to re-introduce it. The Reactionary Movement presents an interesting case study as the norm cascading process is not applicable to the norm of anti-homosexuality; instead, the norm has moved towards norm affirmation. The final stage of the norm life cycle illustrates how the norm of anti-homosexuality remains internalised.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die afgelope twee dekades het huweliksgelykheid die mees dominante kwessie rakend kontemporêre (homo)seksuele en queer regering in die sogenaamde Westerse wêreld geword. Terselfdertyd is daar ‘n toename in die versterking van die anti-homoseksualiteitsbeleide in die sogenaamde nie-Westerse wêreld. Voorstanders van huweliksgelykheid vorm hul argumente rondom menseregte en volle burgerskap, terwyl die opposisie LGBTQ-regte nie as menseregte beskou nie en maak ‘n beroep om terug te keer na ‘tradisionele’ waardes. Hierdie konflik tussen twee groepe state ontbloot ‘n interessante verskynsel in internasionale politiek: die verspreiding van huweliksgelykheid in teenoorgestelde rigtings. Hierdie studie verskaf ‘n in-diepte analise van twee gevallestudies, naamlik die (Huwelik) Gelykheidsbeweging en die (Huwelik) Reaksionêre Beweging. Die Gelykheidsbeweging fokus op die wettiging van gay huwelike, terwyl die Reaksionêre Beweging ‘n voorstander is van die herkriminalisering van gay verhoudings. Ten einde vas te stel tot watter mate staats- en nie-staatsakteurs bydra tot internasionale normverandering, is dit noodsaaklik om te verstaan hoe norme ontstaan, hoe norme deur die wetlike raamwerk versprei, en hoe norme internaliseer word. Die teoretiese raamwerk van Martha Finnemore en Kathryn Sikkink (1998) word gebruik om die rol van akteurs te toets. Die nut van die norm lewensiklusmodel word geregverdig deur die vermoë daarvan om verandering in plaaslike sowel as internasionale instellings te verklaar. Hierdie studie ondersoek hoe en waarom huweliksgelykheid ontstaan het as ‘n belangrike kwessie in kontemporêre globale beleid en praktyk soos beskryf en verduidelik deur Internasionale Betrekkinge. Die norm van huweliksgelykheid is in die eerste fase van die lewensiklus voorgestel deur norm entrepreneurs, wie daarin geslaag het om die norm op die agenda van staatsakteurs te kry. Die studie verwys dan na die tweede fase van die lewensiklus om te illustreer hoe die norm deur die internasionale stelsel versprei het waar verskeie lande die norm aanvaar het. Dit het die norm in staat gestel om die finale fase van die lewensiklus te bereik waar dit na internalisering beweeg. Aan die ander kant het norm entrepreneurs het daarin geslaag om die norm van anti-homoseksualiteit weer voor te stel. Die Reaksionêre Beweging is ‘n interessante gevallestudie, aangesien die norm verspreidingsproses nie van toepassing is op die norm van anti-homoseksualiteit nie. Inteendeel, die norm het beweeg na norm bevestiging. Die finale fase van die norm lewensiklus illustreer hoe die norm van anti-homoseksualiteit geïnternaliseerd bly.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103506
This item appears in the following collections: