When Norms Collide: Local Responses To Activism Against Female Genital Mutilation And Early Marriage

  • Publish Date: 2016-03-02
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Karisa Cloward

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Many transnational campaigns, and particularly the transnational campaign on violence against women, promote international norms that target the behavior of local nonstate actors. But these international norms are often at odds with local practices. What happens when the international and local norms collide? When does transnational activism lead individuals and communities to abandon local norms and embrace international ones?

In When Norms Collide, Karisa Cloward presents a path-breaking theoretical framework for understanding the processes by which individuals negotiate competing demands placed on them by international and local norms. Drawing on extensive fieldwork with local communities in Kenya, she applies the theory to the practices of female genital mutilation and early marriage. Cloward argues that, when faced with international normative messages, individuals can decide to change their attitudes, their behavior, and the public image they present to international and local audiences. Moreover, the impact of transnational activism on individuals substantially depends on the salience of the international and local norms to their respective proponents, as well as on community-level factors.

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