Cetaceans and citizens: international norms and debates about national identity in Japan
This dissertation addresses the question of why states comply with some international norms more than others. I focus on Japan's high compliance with international norms regarding the human rights of foreign residents, moderate compliance with norms regarding whaling, and low compliance with norms regarding burden sharing in refugee admissions. I find that existing theories of International Relations and Japan Studies are ill equipped to explain these variations in compliance. Instead, I draw from scholarship on ideas and politics to argue that Japan's compliance with international norms is filtered through domestic elite debates about the nature of national identity. I argue that a state is most likely to comply with international norms when compliance is framed in a way that appeals to elites with differing conceptions of that state's national identity. My dissertation demonstrates the importance of domestic debates to international politics, and thus contributes to the emerging literature on the relationship between domestic politics and global governance.
- Political science