Everyday Lawmaking in International Human Rights Law: Insights from the Inclusion of Domestic Violence in the Prohibition of Torture

55 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2021

See all articles by Natalie R. Davidson

Natalie R. Davidson

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 21, 2021

Abstract

How is international human rights law (IHRL) made “everyday”, outside of treaty negotiations? Leading socio-legal accounts emphasize transnational civil society activism as driver of norm change, but insufficiently consider power dynamics and the legal-institutional environment. This article sheds light on these dimensions of IHRL by reconstructing how domestic violence came to be included in the prohibition of torture in five international and regional human rights institutions. Through process-tracing based on interviews and a vast amount of documentation, the study reveals everyday lawmaking in IHRL as a complex, incremental process in which a wide range of actors negotiate legal outcomes. The political implications of this process are ambiguous, as it enables participation while creating hidden sites of power. In addition to challenging existing models of international norm change, this study offers an in-depth empirical exploration of a key development in the international prohibition of torture, and demonstrates the benefits of process-tracing as a socio-legal methodology.

Keywords: international human rights law, torture, domestic violence, lawmaking

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Davidson, Natalie R., Everyday Lawmaking in International Human Rights Law: Insights from the Inclusion of Domestic Violence in the Prohibition of Torture (March 21, 2021). Law and Social Inquiry, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3808963

Natalie R. Davidson (Contact Author)

Tel Aviv University - Buchmann Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel

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