UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Increasing compliance with the norm against child soldiery : a case for the adoption of localization theory Esligar, Nicole


This thesis aims to address the question of why, despite a relatively well-established norm prohibiting the use of Child Soldiers, some government forces and non-state armed groups continue to utilize child soldiers in active conflict, while others do not. While the scholarly literature on child soldiery has developed a relatively robust understanding of the supply and demand factors shaping the use of child soldiers in varying contexts, this thesis will argue that it has yet to fully address and embrace a fundamental part of the norm development process – what Amitav Acharya first referred to as norm localization. In order to strengthen the existing international norm against the use of child soldiers, this thesis will highlight the need for more international and scholarly attention to be directed towards understanding the norm development process as a whole, and to prompting norm localization efforts in the areas where compliance rates remain low. As this thesis will show, the localization of the child soldier norm would help to overcome some of the major barriers facing the implementation of, and compliance with, the norm by allowing local actors to interpret and integrate the norm into their contextualized realities. This thesis will first provide a literature review of the existing knowledge around both the norm development process and the factors driving child soldier use, before going into an analysis of Acharya’s localization theory and its potentiality to help overcome the compliance barriers.

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