Book Project: Defiance and Resistance to International Norms

In the last three decades, scholars and activists have argued that international pressure can improve human rights conditions around the world. Indeed, “naming and shaming” is now the preferred tactic of human rights organizations worldwide, while a number of studies in IR claim that international pressure can effectively improve states’ human rights practices. My book manuscript challenges this conventional wisdom. In many cases, human rights violations persist because of outside pressures to comply, not in spite of them. Indeed, international pressure can encourage violations and ramp up abuses, as well as fuel counter-norms that challenge the received order.

The first part of the book manuscript develops my theory of norm defiance, or the increase in norm offending behavior caused by a proud, shameless reaction against a shaming agent. The theory amends and extends existing models of international norm dynamics by explaining how international pressure can result in discursive resistance, increased norm violations, and the promotion of counter-norms. Subsequent chapters provide support for theory by drawing on survey experiments, cross-national data, and in-depth case studies. Together, these findings cast doubt on the power of international pressure to promote human rights, while upending the received wisdom on the role of norms in world affairs.

Peer Reviewed Articles 

Terman, Rochelle. “Islamophobia and Media Portrayals of Women’s Rights: A Computational Text Analysis of U.S. News Coverage” Forthcoming, International Studies Quarterly. [Supporting Information] [Replication Materials]

Terman, Rochelle and Erik Voeten. “The Relational Politics of Shame: Evidence from the Universal Periodic Review.” Forthcoming, Review of International Organizations.

Terman, Rochelle. “Islamophobia, Feminism, and the Politics of Critique” Theory, Culture & Society 33(2). 2016.

Terman, Rochelle. “Piety of Public Participation: The Revolutionary Muslim Woman in the Islamic Republic of Iran” Politics, Religion, and Ideology 11(3). 2010.

Terman, Rochelle. “To Specify or Single Out: Should We Use the Term ‘Honor Killing’?” The Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, 7(1). 2010.

In Progress

“Backlash: Human Rights, Defiance, and the Politics of Shame” (Under review).

“Don’t Tell Us What to Do: Human Rights Shaming and Nationalist Backlash.” (In preparation).

Policy Articles and Technical Reports

2014           “Trans(ition) in Iran” World Policy Journal. Spring 2014.

2013           “Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: A Multi-Country Study with Data on Six Countries” Women Living Under Muslim Laws, official submission to the OHCHR.

2010           “Stoning in Not Our Culture: A Comparative Analysis of Human Rights and Religious Discourses in Iran and Nigeria” Women Living Under Muslim Laws, report for CSW. With Mufuliat Fijabi.