Dr Kundai Sithole, Oxford, gives the seventh talk for The Evolution of International Norms and Norm Entrepreneurship: The Council of Europe in Comparative Perspective.
This one-day workshop will bring together officials and researchers working on the Council of Europe and international norms more generally. Our emphasis on the Council of Europe gives a concrete empirical starting point for consideration of international norms, norm 'entrepreneurship', and human rights. How do norms come onto the international political agenda? How are they turned into political or legal instruments? Who are the norm 'entrepreneurs'? Why do member states risk becoming entangled in an international normative and legal discourse about human rights that their governments may try to avoid 'at home'? It would be easy for states not to cooperate, or subvert 'norm production' inside the Council of Europe itself. Yet member states tend not to do this. This is part of what former Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis has referred to as 'the best kept secret in Europe'. The workshop sets out to unpack this 'secret' by combining a review of current research on the emergence and institutionalization of international norms using the Council of Europe as a focus for a discussion about the conceptual and empirical challenges of studying norm entrepreneurship.