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Proclaiming principles: the logic of the nonrecognition of the spoils of war

O'Mahoney, J. ORCID: (2017) Proclaiming principles: the logic of the nonrecognition of the spoils of war. Journal of Global Security Studies, 2 (3). pp. 204-219. ISSN 2057-3170

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/jogss/ogx006


Starting with the Stimson Doctrine in the early 1930s, the international community has adopted, on numerous occasions, a policy of nonrecognition in response to international boundary changes gained through the use of force. Why? This article uses an investigation of the Manchurian Crisis to reconceptualize nonrecognition as a symbolic sanction against a norm violation. Existing accounts often view symbolic sanctions like nonrecognition as either failed attempts at coercion or mere posturing for domestic audiences. Against this view, this article explains how collective symbolic sanctions create or recreate common knowledge of what the rules of international behavior are in the face of a lack of effective rule enforcement. This common knowledge, or intersubjective understanding, shapes future expectations and interpretations. Nonrecognition of the spoils of war is thus a means to reinforce the norm of nonaggression within international society by reestablishing a shared valuation of the rule.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Politics, Economics and International Relations > Politics and International Relations
ID Code:80590
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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