This dissertation examines how an idea that begins in one part of the world becomes a global norm that almost all states in the international system obey. It investigates the processes of normative development and global diffusion through the study of a single norm: the prohibition of the death penalty for child offenders under the age 18. The dissertation traces the life cycle of this norm from its origins to its rapid global spread in the 1960s and 1970s to the present, when it has been internalized by most countries while also strongly contested by a handful of others. Through case studies of the death penalty policies of China, Ethiopia, France, Japan, Kenya, Pakistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as through institutional case studies of UNICEF and Amnesty International, I argue that abolition of the death penalty for child offenders diffused as a key part of a globalized childhood. This globalized childhood originated in parts of Europe and the United States and spread via the colonial powers of Britain and France. In the last few decades of the 20th century, international law addressing children homogenized state policies, further crystallizing the norm against the child death penalty. By considering how states incorporate a specific norm into their domestic value system and legal framework, I explain how such factors as state structure, international pressure, domestic-level actors (such as NGOs and social movements) and law produce human rights change and catalyze international transformation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2010. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Professor Kathryn Sikkink. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 464 pages, appendices A-E.
Linde, Robyn Michele.
The globalization of childhood: the role of law and norms in the global abolition of the death penalty for child offenders..
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