Contentious Compliance: Dissent and Repression under International Human Rights Law

ISBN : 9780190910983

Courtenay R. Conrad; Emily Hencken Ritter
288 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2019
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Do international human rights treaties constrain governments from repressing their populations and violating rights? In Contentious Compliance, Courtenay R. Conrad and Emily Hencken Ritter present a new theory of human rights treaty effects founded on the idea that governments repress as part of a domestic conflict with potential or actual dissidents. By introducing dissent like peaceful protests, strikes, boycotts, or direct violent attacks on government, their theory improves understanding of when states will violate rights-and when international laws will work to protect people. Conrad and Ritter investigate the effect of international human rights treaties on domestic conflict and ultimately find that treaties improve human rights outcomes by altering the structure of conflict between political authorities and potential dissidents. A powerful, careful, and empirically sophisticated rejoinder to the critics of international human rights law, Contentious Compliance offers new insights and analyses that will reshape our thinking on law and political violence.


Professional acknowledgments
Personal acknowledgments: Courtenay
Personal acknowledgments: Emily
I Introduction
1 Do human rights treaties protect rights?
II A theory of domestic conflict & international treaty constraint
2 A model of conflict and constraint
3 Empirical implications of treaty effects on conflict
III An empirical investigation of conflict & treaty constraint
4 Using data to determine the effect of treaties on repression & dissent
5 Substantive empirical results: Government repression
6 Substantive empirical results: Mobilized dissent
IV Conclusion
7 Conclusion: Human rights treaties (sometimes) protect rights
V Appendices
Appendix to Chapter 3: Proofs of formal theory
Appendix to Chapter 6: Empirical results for government repression
Appendix to Chapter 7: Empirical results for mobilized dissent
Appendix to Chapters 5, 6, 7: Summary of online robustness checks

About the author: 

Courtenay R. Conrad is Associate Professor of political science at the University of California, Merced. Her research and teaching focus primarily on political violence and human rights, particularly on how repressive agents make decisions in the face of domestic and international institutional constraints. Dr. Conrad's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation; published in top journals including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics; and referenced in media outlets including The Washington Post and Discovery News.; Emily Hencken Ritter is Associate Professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. Her research centers on the effects of legal institutions on the strategic relationship between government repression and dissent activities. She has received best article awards from the Journal of Conflict Resolution and the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), as well as the Early Career Award from the MPSA Women's Caucus. She has published her research in the top journals of political science, including the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, and the Journal of Peace Research.

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