Over the past decade, a vibrant international relations (IR) research agenda has developed around the role of norms and the dynamics of normative change in world politics (for reviews, see Adler 1997; Checkel 1998; Desch 1998; Hopf 1998). From an initial concern with demonstrating that “norms matter” (for example, Katzenstein 1996) to more recent research that delineates the specific actors, mechanisms, and causal processes by which particular norms come to be accepted by actors in the international system (Finnemore and Sikkink 1998; Keck and Sikkink 1998: Risse, Ropp, and Sikkink 1999; Risse 2000), the study of international norms has emerged as a core constructivist concern in IR. Despite this progress, however, one cannot fail to note that the constructivist research agenda on norms and normative change appears to be curiously ill-equipped to shed light on...

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