Networking for the ban: network structure, social power, and the movement to ban antipersonnel mines

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The ban on antipersonnel mines is rightly regarded as a major humanitarian achievement. Yet the successful creation of a legally binding treaty is not reducible to the properties of actors or the quality of ideas in isolation, but is rather the product of the patterned relations among constituent units and the empowering effects these interactions produce. I argue that the position of key actors as hubs within the mine ban network provides them with disproportionate influence in re-shaping the policy agenda concerning antipersonnel mines. These actors acquired their hub position, though, based in part on their promise in accomplishing particular governance tasks. The relational structure of the mine ban network thus created the conditions of access necessary to facilitate persuasion and social pressure noted in previous studies. This account helps explain how the goal of a complete prohibition won-out in the face of sustained opposition, and why global military powers led by the United States were unable to generate support for an alternative framing that retained antipersonnel mines as legitimate weapons of war. To demonstrate this, I map the key actors and ties within the mine ban network, and illustrate their development in two distinct phases, concerning the negotiation of the Mine Ban Treaty and its subsequent implementation, respectively. The network has adapted to new governance challenges inherent in promoting an existing treaty—rather than advocating for its creation—with the addition of a new hub. This structural shift has meant that certain actors have increased their relative importance while others have decreased in stature.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance
EditorsDeborah Avant, Oliver Westerwinter
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190604493, 9780190604509
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2016


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