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On The Normalization Of Sub-State Diplomacy

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Chapter Summary

Although rarely spectacular, neither in form nor content, the international activism of sub-state governments is rapidly growing across the world, discreetly transforming diplomatic routines and foreign policy machineries. Against conventional approaches that tend to minimize the importance of sub-state diplomacy, this chapter argues that this reality is presently undergoing a process of legal and political normalization throughout the world and deserves greater attention from both diplomatic practitioners and experts. It first presents a brief discussion on the notion of normalization in critical social theory and its validity for diplomatic studies. The chapter then examines the normalization of sub-state diplomacy through four, closely interconnected conceptual lenses: normalization as generalization; normalization as regionalization; normalization as reflective adaptation; and, finally, normalization as contentious regulation. In the international realm, normalization enables the diplomatic system to operate in an increasingly complex environment, facilitating its own adaptation and durability.

Keywords: contentious regulation; differentiated regionalization; normalization; reflective adaptation; sub-state diplomacy; virtual generalization



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