Alternate Norms: New Contestation Theory on Subsidiary Norms in the Changing World Order

20 February 2024, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Norm contestation theory is a significant innovation in constructivist research on dynamics and (d)evolution of liberal international norms. Yet a wide blindspot exists where norms originating from the world’s regions, or what scholars call “subsidiary norms,” that challenge liberal norms and world order are unexplored or described as regional powers’ struggles to safeguard their independence or promote preferred international norms. This article stimulates a healthier consciousness for the study of such norms, which I name alternate norms. Tapping into concepts of contested subsidiarity and changing world order, I develop a new contestation theory on subsidiary norms: regional powers make alternate norms to set up primacy and dominate the governance of global issues within a geographical/spatial boundary. Alternate norms underline regional powers’ strategic narratives and conceptions of the world; they are structurally robust and fittest for underpinning a more legitimate, just, and diverse world order.


World Order


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