International mediators are often tasked to promote liberal norms. However, dilemmas created in diffusing these norms, influenced by the mediators’ interaction with the conflict parties and a decline of the liberal international order, have fueled debates about how norms are diffused through mediation, whether mediators should and can promote norms, and what norms they promote. The IR literature provides rich theoretical frameworks on norms, which could help navigate these questions. Yet, mediation scholars have not systematically integrated ideational aspects in their analyses. This Special Issue fills this gap by providing the first comprehensive analysis of how norms matter in mediation. It thereby not only shares novel analytical insights on norms in mediation, but also enriches the conceptualizations of three central notions in the norms literature: the norm diffusion process, the agency of actors, and the nature of the diffused norms.
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Introduction 1We would like to thank Laurie Nathan and Marie‐Joëlle Zahar as well as two anonymous reviewers for excellent comments that helped improve the content of this article. This Special Issue was produced in the framework of a research project on norms in international peace mediation conducted at swisspeace/University of Basel and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). All errors are our own.
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