Winning the post-war: norm localisation and small arms control in Kosovo and Cambodia

  • Simone TholensEmail author


This article asks how domestic elites contest and localise global norms in contentious post-war contexts. Engaging with critical norm research, it develops a ‘two-step localisation’ framework in order to explain how seemingly technical security governance programmes depend on active congruence making with constitutive state–society narratives — both by international practitioners and domestic elites. The first step consists of the adaptation that practitioners working in the field make in order to tune their message to local contexts, and the second step constitutes the locally driven processes of contestation through narrative construction. The article thus brings in deeply political negotiations over state–society narratives in order to unpack how local agents contest and reframe global norms. Applying the two-step localisation framework to a comparative case study of Small Arms and Light Weapons Control programmes in Kosovo and Cambodia, the article illustrates how the relationship between arms and state–society narratives is key to understanding the outcome of security governance processes.


arms Cambodia Kosovo localisation norms post-war reconstruction 


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List of interviews

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International RelationsCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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