The Tools of International Pressure

June 1-2, 2012
77 Prospect St, Room A002

Sponsored by the Georg Walter Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy.

Conference Organizer: Susan Hyde

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Throughout the world, domestic politics are routinely influenced by international pressure. Leaders, activists, and citizens cite international level variables as important in explaining why political change does (or does not) take place in areas, including corruption, trade, democratization, rule of law, human rights, the adoption of “good” economic policies, and many others. For their part, international actors (including other states, NGOs, IGOs, investors, etc.) routinely attempt to influence domestic politics in otherwise sovereign states using a variety of levers, including foreign aid, loans, trade, technical assistance, international legal accountability, and rhetoric. It is worth noting that international actors are often invited to engage in such forms of international pressure by the host government and sometimes under the auspices of an international mandate, such as in peacekeeping operations.

Yet in political science, the traditional sub-field divides, as well as the tendency for debates to take place within substantive issue areas, has meant that the relations between the various tools of statecraft are understudied. The goal of this conference is to bring together a relatively diverse group of junior and senior scholars who are experts in specific types of mechanisms by which international actors attempt to influence politics in other states, particularly in developing countries. Papers do not need to be focused exclusively on the “tools” of international pressure, but presenters will be encouraged to comment briefly on how the mechanisms of international pressure operate in their area of expertise. The goal is that the conference will yield empirically grounded discussions about larger theoretical debates, and that some productive cross-pollination can take place between otherwise distinct issue areas.