UBC Theses and Dissertations
Compliant(ish) : norm evasion and avoidance in doping, tax, and Indigenous rights Lai, Dominic
Norms literature assume that opponents of norms do not comply with its prescriptions, and will actively reject its’ logic patterns. While this may describe some patterns of norm contestation, actors that openly contest generally accepted norms may incur unbearable penalties. Other theories presume that a state may accept a norm’s logic patterns, but not comply as a result of an inability to comply. Evasion and avoidance present a different way of envisioning how actors may approach norms, compliance, and logic systems by delinking compliance and acceptance of normative logic. These concepts introduce opportunism as a key variable that also challenges presumptions about actor intentions. By examining the cases of doping in sport, tax law, and Indigenous rights, a pattern emerges where actors have been able to manipulate a norm’s compliance signals to technically comply with a norm while defeating the norm’s objectives. In turn, this allows actors to enjoy the benefits of non-compliance or partial compliance and compliance simultaneously, and escape detection by appearing to be compliant with the norm itself. These two concepts implicitly challenge the concept that compliance is a binary variable, and builds on a growing literature that suggests that the grey area between the poles of compliance and non-compliance may be more complex than expected.
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